Chlorine chronicles


I’ve had a rather busy summer, and apologize for not posting earlier about last month’s ‘in your element’ piece. Our before-latest article sees Barbara Finlayson-Pitts from the University of California, Irvine take a look at chlorine. I’m happy to say that this element, which chemists and non-chemists alike are well acquainted with, completes our first family of the periodic table!  Read more

One flerovium atom at a time

One flerovium atom at a time

This month, our tour of the elements takes us to a corner of the periodic table that has only been explored recently, and from which only a handful of atoms have been observed. In the case of flerovium, literally one atom at a time. The superheavy element 114 has such a high nuclear charge that several months of nuclear fusion (in which calcium-48 ion beams are directed into targets of plutonium or curium isotopes) are required to produce just one atom — which then decays within seconds.  Read more

Neon behind the signs


A few different versions of the periodic table do exist — as Michelle Francl wrote about here a while ago in a certain chemistry journal  — but we’re all attached to the one that adorned our science class rooms at school: Mendeleev’s version. We generally think that each position is firmly set, but in this issue’s ‘in your element’ article (subscription required) Felice Grandinetti ponders on whether neon should really be at the top of the noble gases group — this would involve helium moving next to hydrogen, at the top of group 2.  Read more

Reactions: Felice Grandinetti

Felice Grandinetti is in the Department for Innovation in Biological, Agro-food and Forest systems (DIBAF) of the Università della Tuscia, Italy, and works on the computational investigation of the structure, stability, and reactivity of simple inorganic species. The studied systems are in general of fundamental interest, and play also an active role, for example, in environmental and plasma chemistry.  Read more

Cerium under the lens

Cerium under the lens

In this month’s ‘in your element’ article (subscription required), Eric Schelter from the University of Pennsylvania draws our attention to cerium, an element that serves a variety of commercial and industrial applications, yet presents chemists with some rather peculiar challenges.  Read more

Reactions: Catherine Renouf

Catherine Renouf is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at The University of St Andrews, and studies the separation of olefin mixtures using metal–organic frameworks using adsorption-based and structural techniques — she is also one of the winners of our In Your Element writing competition, with her essay on indium.  Read more