“I found that trying to understand the modern concepts in chemistry using a 2D Periodic Table was like trying to fly over the Rockies in a car. You need a plane. You need 3D.” ~ Fernando Dufour, Professor, Collège Ahuntsic, Montreal

The Tabular Periodic Table of elements has sustained the test of time – 150 years that is. But it has glitches at places.

Add a proton into the atomic nucleus, a new element is born. After adding 2, 8, 8, 32 protons the new element demonstrates similar generic properties. Had the periodicity been constant, a two dimensional table could be perfect. But bigger nuclei allow more protons and generate more varied atoms before getting back to the closest match again. The vertical line that represents a group similarity in 2D thus gets diverged from top conical vertex towards periphery of a wider circular base to accommodate more groups in a period.

The Birla Industrial & Technological Museum has been welcoming visitors this June, with a rotating, 3D version of the familiar Periodic Table. This 3D form, inspired from Fernando Dufour’s original version called ElemenTree, manifests in a stronger light, the quirks and perks of the hundred odd elements that make us all – and everything else around.

About Birla Industrial & Technological Museum

Birla Industrial & Technological Museum (BITM) in Kolkata, the first science museum in the country under the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, is engaged in popularizing and promoting science especially among the youth through various interactive models, exhibitions, educational programmes and activities throughout the year. BITM facilities are specifically designed to augment the learning curves of the students not only on curricular concepts in basic physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, electricity, electronics etc., but also on current topics of interest in science & technology and related social issues.