Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Viz: A Popular View of the Elements

From the annals of Popular Science comes this nifty little visualization of the periodic table of the elements. Painstakingly collected by Theodore Grey, co-founder of Wolfram Research and columnist for Popular Science, each element is represented by an image of one form of the element itself or in the case of short-lived elements, represented by an image of the namesake.
This Flash-based interactive mapping of the elements allows one to click on each element to bring up a stub of scientific information including; the atomic weight, melting point, boiling point, density, and a size representing how big the image is. It also includes a short anecdote or fact about the element and a link to an image database of things which contain the element.
This visualization is not the most useful since It has a limited spread of information for scientific purposes, but as far as it is intended to intrigue and excite people about the elements, images like this go far in this endeavor. Beyond its classroom appeal, it serves very well the purpose it seems most intended for, and that is to sell images of the table in various forms, from posters to luminous prints, and to promote Theodore Grey’s new book, The Elements, which is available in applet form for the iPad.
This visualization was sponsored by the Dow Jones Chemical Company and chemical data was provided by Wolfram Research.