Jessica Helfand and I are building a collection of Periodic Tables and hope to publish a book on their scientific, visual and cultural history. We are looking for examples — historical or contemporary — of interesting, innovative, unusual, compelling, daring, exotic versions of the Periodic Table of the Elements.
We have a fairly substantial collection of images of early (pre-19th century) systems for categorizing elements; extensive materials related to Mendeleev and his original Periodic Table; and alternative graphic systems proposed by chemists. We are seeking additional original materials to help us document the Periodic Table's history and evolution.
We have inventoried Periodic Tables invoked as an armature for any of a number of odd subjects, including beers; fruits; cereals; nuts; sex; desserts; fonts; subversive elements; cultural elements; and more. We welcome additions to this ever-growing list and invite you to send examples.
Part of this inventory has revealed unusual adaptations of the Periodic Table in signage or on T-shirts; in advertising, annual reports and posters; on menus; in songs; even on buildings and in architecture. We welcome additions to this ever-growing list and invite you to send examples.
The Fine Print
We need original materials or high-quality scans, as well as full bibliographic information and design credits. We will post all items received as comments to this blog thread; this will serve as a public archive of the items received.
Original materials can be sent to:
71 Undermountain Road
P.O. Box 159
Falls Vilage, CT 06031
To launch this project, I'd like to share three recent finds:
01. Call for Entries for the Architectural League of New York, 2002
Michael Bierut has fessed up to the sin of faux science, and has submitted this item:
02. Fast Company Magazine, January 2004
An article on IBM's brain talent being for sale, art directed by Dean Markadakis:
03. Miracle of Science Bar & Grill Menu at MIT
At a bar near MIT in Boston called the Miracle of Science Bar & Grill, the menu is a Periodic Table done on a chauk board. Photos to be posted after my next beer there, unless any Boston-area readers familiar with this watering hole care to beat me to it!
[Other periodic tables are viewable in our lecture, Culture Is Not Always Popular.]