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Periodic Table of Nottingham


Nottingham element: Ibuprofen

Today ibuprofen is the most commonly-used drug in the management of pain and inflammation worldwide. It was created by Dr Stewart Adams, a Nottingham pharmacologist.

Dr Adams left school at 16 and trained at a small branch of Boots the Chemist in Cambridgeshire. The company awarded him sponsorship to study a BPharm degree at University College – now the University of Nottingham.

Upon graduation, Dr Adams joined the penicillin production team at Boots, but he later secured a role in the company’s research division, and a PhD from Leeds University.

After seven years working from the front room of a Victorian house on the outskirts of Nottingham, the first active compounds that eventually led to ibuprofen were discovered in the late 1950s.

Dr Stewart discovered the effectiveness of the drug after testing the drug on his own hangover, the rest, as they say, is history!

Dr Adams received an OBE for his work in the 1980s and in 2013 he was made an Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham.

He died in January 2019 aged 95.

Scientific element: Iodine

Iodine is the least reactive of the halogens as well as the most electropositive, meaning it tends to lose electrons and form positive ions during chemical reactions. 

Photography was the first commercial use for iodine. In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented a method for producing images, called daguerreotypes, on thin sheets of metal. 

Iodine is a component of nuclear fallout, the residual radioactive material that falls from the sky after a nuclear blast. People in a radioactive area are in danger of inhaling or ingesting iodine, which is highly toxic in large doses.

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