The periodic table contains the 118 unique elements that are currently known to exist on the planet. You can find it proudly displayed in most high school chemistry classes and it is a tool that teachers encourage their students to use on tests. In his book, The Disappearing Spoon, Sam Kean examines each individual element that makes up the periodic table by revealing their unique stories and origins. Here are just a few elements that are pretty awesome:

  • Hydrogen (H) is one of the main elements that make up stars (and because it is highly reactive, we use it in balloons for KaBoom shows).
  • “Self-sterilizing” Copper (Cu) tubing is used in air-conditioning ducts because copper will disrupt the metabolism of certain bacteria and fungi.
  • Gallium (Ga) has a melting point of 84°F, which makes it one of the few metals that can melt in the palm of one’s hand. A popular practical joke among scientists was to take a Gallium spoon and give it to a colleague with a hot cup of tea, only to have it disappear.

Visit this link for additional information about The Disappearing Spoon.

If you love chemistry and want to experience some hands-on experiments, stop by Dr. Dare’s Laboratory on your next visit to the science center.


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