Monday, 5 May 2008

The Periodic Table

With its Saturday edition The Guardian gave away a pretty multicoloured chart of the periodic table. I remember finding the one on the wall of my classroom a depressing sight, partly because it had over the years turned a rather nasty shade of beige. It may even have contributed towards my lifelong dislike of chemistry, which then and now seems to me to be basically about uninteresting substances in menacing little glass jars. It is pleasant to think that thousands of classrooms will now have a lovely new chart, replacing the faded and dusty one that's been pinned up there for years.

But even smartened up, it's not something that lifts the heart. It took the combined talents of Sir Arthur Sullivan, Tom Lehrer and Mike Stanfill to make The Elements really amusing. If my chemistry teacher had presented something like this to the class I might have paid more attention to his lessons, though I doubt if it would have influenced my career choice (which turned out to be a big mistake anyway).

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