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A Real Periodic Table – With Real Elements

Here’s a YouTube look at a periodic table, laid out with high-quality samples of the real elements. I want one, although I’m willing to compromise on some of the radioactive items; completeness can be taken a bit too far.

It’s from the folks at, featuring element-collector extraordinaire Theodore Gray, author of the best coffee-table book on the elements ever.

18 comments on “A Real Periodic Table – With Real Elements”

  1. Old Timer says:

    There is one of these in the foyer at 12 Oxford Street. I think I remember an admin telling me it cost about $25k. Great for your living room!

  2. Myma says:

    The same content by the same author is in a great App for iPad. My kids love twirling the elements around with their fingers, and can pick out Lise Meitner in a crowd now.

  3. gippgig says:

    Has anyone made element trading cards that include a sample (since most samples would be an extremely thin foil cost and toxicity issues would be minimal) of the element (preferably with the same number of atoms in each sample so the size indicates the atomic volume)? Element “coins” are available (but not, as far as I know, with the same number of atoms for each element).

  4. Pamplemousse says:

    The University of Victoria in Victoria, BC has one of these. It looks pretty eighties, with a knob that lights up the various groupings.

  5. Org Lett Reader says:

    No. No one has ever done that.

  6. leftscienceawhileago says:

    A thought that this video triggers, name every colored elemental allotrope:
    (red) Phosphorus

  7. germqn says:

    BASF’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen has a periodic table with the real elements that you can handle inside a glovebox in their visitor’s center. Very cool.

  8. bauke says:

    We got a sweet set of the elements in the Inorganic Chemistry 1 chair at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany). Believe it’s a heritage of Karl Wieghardt.

  9. milkshake says:

    @6: All halogens are colorful, so is S, Se (red). Ozone has a stark blue color. Arsenic has a yellow allotrope. Bi and Rh (to a lesser degree) have a pinkish hue

  10. OneArmedChemist says:

    I always thought it would be neat to make a video game where your weapons consisted of the elements (or other chemicals). Throwing chunks of sodium, streams of fluorine gas… plus it would get the kids interested in chemistry!

  11. eric scerri says:

    Great looking periodic table. Wish I could have one!
    For more information on the periodic table please see the following website,
    eric scerri
    author of
    A Very Short Introduction to the Periodic Table,
    Oxford University Press, 2011

  12. GC says:

    I have both the book and the poster. He spared no expense to print excellent photos on extremely high quality paper, but they’re worth it.
    @gippgig: gases and liquids would be difficult to put on cards…

  13. gippgig says:

    #12 – I would think all the samples would be sealed in plastic.

  14. SGP says:

    We have one in the foyer at the University of Leicester, it’s a nice modern one, but, yeah, no real radioactive ones, and no real F2 either!

  15. simpl says:

    I always wondered whether a web site could allow two selections from periodic tables to be an entry point via a list of existing compounds. (carbon – carbon need only bring up a data overload message). Anyone know of such a site?

  16. Canageek says:

    Simon Fraser University in BC got a display with all the elements stable enough to last long enough to go in the display last summer. Yes, including the radioactive ones (They just use really small amounts– Honestly, I never got chemists who worry about radiation, it is safer then a lot of stuff we work with).
    For those wondering the price tag I heard was $10,000, which makes sense given how expensive things like platinum, palladium, plutonium, most of the rare earths, can be. Did I mention that most of them were not small samples? Oh and they also had items showing what each element is used for for a lot of them.

  17. B says:

    Theodore Grey is awesome!
    The video is actually by the Periodic Table of Videos ( which is a project between a film-maker called Brady Haran and staff at the University of Nottingham.
    They’ve made a video about each element and have since moved onto molecules and other chemistry topics. It’s a really interesting and useful teaching resource.

  18. If possible it would be really cool to have one mole cubes of those elements where it makes sense…
    That way you would show density too…

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