Did you know that beryllium is transparent to X-rays? Or yttrium is found in moon rocks and bullet-proof glass? Or that curium was named after Pierre and Marie Curie? Or that because tantalum is used in cell phones, the demand for it has become so immense that wars have erupted in central Africa?
I did, because I've been clicking through this interactive chart on the TED-Ed platform, which features a free lesson about every single element on the periodic table. Go ahead. Ask me anything about hassium. [Frantically reviews hassium.]
The chart was built by the team at Periodic Videos, which created a collection of videos about the 118 elements. Clips include interviews with chemists Martyn Poliakoff and Stephen Liddle, along with laboratory experiments. For each element, there's a short quiz ("Is boron a metal or a non-metal?"), guided discussions ("What would be the differences in the daily life of a person with a titanium hip implant compared to someone without it?") and links to additional resources.
Parents, bookmark the site for those moments your kids complain they have nothing to do. And learn something new yourself. Then, if you want to check out another creative periodic table, here's one that shows the uses of every element.