Anniversary of the Periodic Table

Anniversary of the Periodic Table

07/10/2019 by BBC Radio 4

Web player:

The Periodic Table

How well do you know your Fe from your Cu, and what the heck is Np?? Brian Cox and Robin Ince are joined by comedian Katy Brand, Prof Polly Arnold and Prof Andrea Sella to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s great achievement. They find out how scientists first realised that the elements that form the ingredients that make up our planet , are able to be organised in such a logical and ordered way, and whether its still a useful tool today. They also discover why one of the guests has been called the Free Solo equivalent of chemists because of the skill and danger involved in their work.

Producer: Alexandra Feachem

Listen Date: 2020-01-21


  • Sidenote about Katy Brand: when she popped up on my YouTube homepage last week, I did a double take and thought ‘Did Katy Perry change her name when she was married to Russel Brand?’ Nope, Katy Brand is an all-original, genuine Brand comedian in her own right.
  • The Island of Stability joke was amazing.
  • So was the whole ‘bag of rats’, ‘Those were moles‘ bit.
  • I realised thanks to this that Uranium, Neptunium, and Plutonium are in the same atomic number sequence as the planets. Ooh! I also learned that Neptunium isn’t naturally occurring.


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