Chemical education today - letters

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Chemical Education Today

Collaborating To Celebrate National Chemistry Week

Communicating the value of chemistry to the community is the primary goal of the Committee on Community Activities, the ACS committee responsible for outreach programs. I would like to thank the Journal for the fabulous October 2009 issue that focused on the National Chemistry Week theme, Chemistry; It's Elemental!,celebrating the 140th anniversary of Mendeleev's periodic table. The Committee on Community Activities is extremely appreciative for this collaboration. Your support allows us to reach a much larger audience than we would ever be able to achieve alone. Sincere thanks to all involved.

Tracy Halmi
National Chemistry Week Chair
Committee on Community Activities of the ACS
School of SciencePenn State Erie, The Behrend College
Erie, PA 16563 tracy@psu.edu

DOI: 10.1021/ed100305m Published on Web 06/01/2010

An Illustrated Periodic Table Designed in South Africa

In looking at the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education and its focus on the periodic table, I should like to point out that readers can download a periodic table poster from the South AfricanAgency for Science and Technology Advancement, SAASTA. Besides the atomic number, atomic symbol, element name, and atomic mass, there is an illustration for each element.
The poster is available online from one of SAASTA's Web sites at http://www.saasta.ac.za/downloads/pdfs/poster_ periodic_table.pdf (accessed May 2010). The table may be printed for use in any size; it works well at an A4 papersize, although using an A3 paper size is more effective as it is then possible to really appreciate the charming illustrations for each element.

Bette Davidowitz
Department of Chemistry University of Cape Town
Rondebosch, 7701 South Africa
Bette.Davidowitz@uct.ac.za

DOI: 10.1021/ed1004189 Published on Web 05/27/2010

Polonium and Astatine Are Not Semimetals

Periodic tables in ourtextbooks often have polonium and astatine shaded or colored as semimetals. This is false. Polonium is unambiguously a metal and astatine is unambiguously a nonmetal. The error arises from a common belief that the elements next to the staircase-shaped line that separates the metals from the nonmetals are always or usually either semimetals or semiconductors or both. It isn't necessarily so. Thechemical and physical evidence for these assertions are given in (1) based on the work reported in refs (2-4) for polonium, refs (5, 6) for astatine, ref (7) for history and ref (8) for general theory. Literature Cited

1. Hawkes, S. J. Chem 13 News 1999, 27, 14. 2. Bagnall, K. W. Chemistry of the Rare Radioelements; Academic Press: New York, 1957. 3. Gmelin Handbook of Inorganic and OrganometallicChemistry, 8th ed. Supplement 1; Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 1990. 4. Maxwell, C. R. J. Chem. Phys. 1949, 17, 1288–1292. 5. Gmelin Handbook of Inorganic Chemistry, At, Astatine, 8th ed.; Springer-Verlag: Berlin, 1985. 6. Cotton, F. A.; Wilkinson, G. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry; Interscience: New York, 1972; p 487. 7. Corson, K. R.; MacKenzie, K. R.; Segre, E. Phys. Rev. 1940, 58, 672–678. 8. Spencer,J. N.; Moog, R. S.; Gillespie, R. J. J. Chem. Educ. 1996, 73, 627–631.
Stephen J. Hawkes Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon, 97331 stephenhawkes@comcast.net

DOI: 10.1021/ed100308w
Published on Web 05/25/2010

The 7-Row Left-Step Periodic Table

In Eric Scerri's article on the role of triads (1), in Michael Laing's comment (2), and in Scerri's response (3), it is assumed that theleft-step table with H and He over F and Ne, respectively, is new. In fact, the left-step table was the first of Charles Janet's three versions (4), published in 1928. He abandoned it later that year for the 8-row version (5). L. M. Simmons reinvented the 7-row version in 1947 (6), but similarly changed his preference to the 8-row form in the following year (7). A fuller treatment of Janet's...
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