There's been plenty of interest in a video we posted about a periodic table mistake.

We came across the table during our trip to Turin, in a lecture theatre dedicated to the chemist and writer Primo Levi.

Here is a picture of me under the table:

Our hosts sheepishly admitted it contained an error and challenged us to find it.

After a quick scan we hadn't seen it, so the error was explained.

We thought it would make a fun challenge for Periodic Table of Videos viewers, so here's the video:

(SPOILER WARNING - DON'T SCROLL BELOW THIS VIDEO IF YOU DON'T WANT THE ANSWER REVEALED)

We'd never have guessed how many responses we'd receive and how many theories would be put forward!

The main thing people have pointed out is the incorrect order, names and symbols for elements 104 to 108.

HOWEVER THIS WAS NOT INCORRECT WHEN THE TABLE WAS PRINTED.

Between 1994 and 1997 the officially proposed names for the elements were:

104: Dubnium

105: Joliotium

106: Rutherfordium

107: Bohrium

108: Hahnium

It wasn't until 1997 that we had the more familiar names and ordering:

104: Rutherfordium

105: Dubnium

106: Seaborgium

107: Bohrium

108: Hassium

So if that can't really be considered a mistake, then what is it?

Well, the error pointed out to us was the symbol for element 110. It should be Uun (Ununnilium, since named Darmstadtium), but on the Primo Levi table it is Unn (a typo, we were told).

Many people identified this and our congratulations to them.

However many people have pointed out other "errors" - some real and some humorous.

They include minor rounding errors in the atomic masses and debates about the style and classification of elements. You can read them all in the comments section of the video - we have enjoyed everyone's contributions.

I was also impressed by people who noted the date on the table does not match the anniversary of Primo Levi's death.

I personally doubt this is an error and more likely results from the table being "unveiled" at a later date - but who knows?

Once again, we'd like to thank COST for supported our trip to Turin. Below I've included a couple of other videos from the trip.

## Tuesday, 7 September 2010

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so..did I get the prize?

ReplyDeleteThe price are the congratulation from the great scientists.

ReplyDeleteIt turns out the prize was inside you all along.

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