November 20, 2019, by Rob Ounsworth

Trent Building lights up for the elements

The University’s iconic Trent Building is being lit up this Friday (22 November) to illustrate a milestone in the history of science – the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s Periodic Table of Elements. 

Part of the building will swathed in a video as part of UK Chemistry Week, which the Royal Society of Chemistry is using to combine recognition of the International Year of the Periodic Table with a more serious issue – the threat to a growing number of elements through the surplus of old technology. 

It’s fitting that Nottingham is one of 11 leading UK universities projecting the periodic table. 

The School of Chemistry’s Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff  was instrumental in winning UNESCO’s backing for the 2019 International Year of the Periodic Table

The star of the YouTube phenomenon the Periodic Table of Videos also pioneered the use of supercritical fluids to replace traditional solvents in chemical processes, recognising that the world needs cleaner, less wasteful and more sustainable ways of manufacturing. 

Professor Jon McMaster, Deputy Head of the School of Chemistry said: “We’re delighted to be able to celebrate this landmark year for the Periodic Table with the Royal Society of Chemistry in this way. Our University has so much chemical heritage; from our connections with the Boots family to the development of the Carbon Neutral Laboratory in collaboration with GSK. The University of Nottingham is also home to the very successful Periodic Table of Videos YouTube channel, which continues to excite the next generation of students who will explore the elements of the Periodic Table with us and who will work towards the development of green and sustainable chemical processes for the future. What a great way to celebrate this important year and the contributions Nottingham has, and continues to make, to our understanding of the elements.” 

If you are out and about on University Park on Friday evening, look out for the periodic table video projection on the Trent Building between dusk (4-5pm) and 8pm. If you take and share pictures please use #ChemWeek2019 and #IYPT2019 to help celebrate this landmark. 

Sir Martyn, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: The periodic table is iconic – not only is it a landmark for science; it’s also a terrific marketing tool and I’m so pleased that colleagues at the University and people around the world share my enthusiasm. 

Martyn Poliakoff

His pioneering work in green chemistry lies at the heart of the global drive to provide for the needs of growing populations, without further damaging our planet, a theme echoed by Chemistry Week.  

Robert Parker, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said many of the elements first documented by Mendeleev were now in critical danger of running outwith more than half of UK households have at least one unused electronic device – such as mobile phones, computers, smart TVs, MP3 players or e-readers – while 82% of us have no plans to recycle or sell on these forgotten devices. 

He added: “We’re really pleased to have the support of some the UK and Ireland’s leading institutions in bringing the importance of the message to life – literally highlighting the responsibility we have in ensuring our old devices are properly recycled. 


Posted in public engagementresearch