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Periodic Table of Nottingham


Nottingham element: Poliakoff

Over the years the Periodic Table has been used in many creative and fun ways to engage audiences with science and in 2008 Sir Martyn Poliakoff teamed up with video journalist Brady Haran to start the Periodic Table of Videos.

Since the first video was posted the team has filmed experiments for most of the elements and regularly update the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments. The hugely popular videos have made Sir Martyn and his team YouTube stars with millions of fans worldwide.

Sir Martyn was a special guest at the launch ceremony of the International Year of the Periodic Table at UNESCO in Paris.

He is a renowned professor at The University of Nottingham, and was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2015. He received the honour for services to Chemical Sciences in recognition of his contribution as a global leader in green and sustainable chemistry. The honour is also in recognition for him acting as an ambassador for UK Science in his role as Vice-President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, which is an illustration of the esteem in which he is held by his fellow academics.

Scientific element: Phosphorus

The word phosphorus comes from a Greek word meaning "bearer of light," and this element delivers on that promise.

Phosphorus is essential to all living things. It forms the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA and RNA. There are about 26.5 ounces (750 grams) of phosphate in the average human body, mostly in the bones.

Strike-anywhere matches can ignite on any surface because they contain a small amount of white phosphorus built in to the match head. 

Watch and learn

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