This page contains links to websites and blogs on chemistry, the elements, and the periodic table. It also contains links to sites on chemistry education and science education in general, and to sites on the history of chemistry and its development from its roots in Greek matter theories, medieval craftsmanship, and alchemy.
This site contains links to the history of the periodic table and its significance, including articles on different forms of the table and how it has evolved over time. Dr. Scerri teaches at UCLA and is an expert in the history and philosophy of chemistry, particularly in the development and significance of the periodic table. I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Scerri while I completed a research fellowship at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia during the summer of 2009. The resulting videos can be found on my Videos page and at my YouTube channel.
Speaking of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, here is their homepage. This foundation houses an extensive collection of books, articles, magazines, and artifacts on the history of chemistry. Their website has extensive features that will help any chemistry teacher. I spent three months at CHF as a Research Fellow, supported by a generous grant from the Société de Chimie Industrielle (American Section). My research areas included four things: (1) the history of Greek matter theories, from Thales to Epicurus (with Empedocles, Democritus, Aristotle, and others thrown in); (2) medieval technologies, such as mining, metallurgy, and craftsmanship; (3) the history and theories of alchemy and its practitioners; and (4) the rise of modern chemistry and its early history (sometimes called chymistry by historians of science). I was able to photograph and study rare and ancient books, the oldest I worked with personally being a 1490 edition of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. I am gradually taking all the materials I gathered and turning them into videos, lesson plans, powerpoint slideshows, etc.
Mark Leach has created a valuable resource on the periodic table, including images of various forms of the table ranging from early attempts created by de Chancourtois, Lothar Meyer, and others to modern formations including three-dimensional tables and the elemental galaxy table by Philip Stewart. He has many other useful resources on this site as well.
Theo Gray is an avid collector of samples of the elements and has produced some amazing materials, including the acclaimed periodic table app The Elements: A Visual Exploration for the iPad. He has written a beautifully illustrated book and even carved an office conference table from wood in the shape of the periodic table. Each tile of the table can be lifted up to see a sample of the element underneath. I was fortunate to interview Theo at his office at Wolfram Research in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois while traveling back from my summer at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. He allowed me to photograph his element samples, many of which have since appeared in his books and iPad apps. This website shows the samples and information about each element and is a great resource for any chemistry teacher. Theo has also partnered with Max Whitby to create a number of periodic table installations at universities, such as in the Percy Julian Science Building at DePauw University in Indiana.
A company called Stardust Elements based in the Netherlands offers display cases containing sealed vials with samples of the elements (and in some cases minerals where the elements by themselves would be too reactive and dangerous). This is an ideal way to start a collection as a teacher, student, or serious scientist. Different editions are available, ranging from an introductory student version with 81 elements (not including any of the radioactive elements) up to a scientist edition with 91 vials, including some radioactive elements and larger samples sizes. The wooden display case is handsomely designed. The name of the company is based on the idea (and famous Carl Sagan quote) that we are all made of star stuff, cycled through nucleosynthesis in stars. Even the iron in our blood and the carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in all of our cells was produced by nuclear fusion inside stars.
This is a link to my other blog, which focuses on Earth Science and astronomy and how to teach them in the classroom. It contains resources for teachers as well as information on projects my students and I are doing related to astronomy and astrobiology.