She went on to say “…he had even spent years collecting samples of most of the elements in the periodic table, and built a display case to hold them in the same layout.” Though I didn’t share it at the time, my first thought was “geeky or not, I would love to see it…maybe even build one of my own…” So I guess I’m a geek too.
What partly set off my imagination at the time, though, was the fact that the elements seemed very abstract to me when we first learned about them in high school chemistry. It wasn’t until decades later in my technical career when I had been exposed to all the uses and applications of the different elements that there was any physical grounding for the abstract table. A little extra time studying the applications of the elements, and a physical sample of each one seem like a capital idea!
I never did manage the meeting or the initiative to build my own collection, but now I can get pretty close with a lot less effort. Check out this photographic table of the elements.
(click on the image for an enlarged version)
You can get all the posters and place mats you want here. Every chemistry classroom should have one!