Periodic Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos (usually shortened to Periodic Videos) is a series of videos about chemical elements and the periodic table. They are published on YouTube and produced by Brady Haran, a former BBC video journalist, featuring Sir Martyn Poliakoff ("The Professor"), Peter Licence, Stephen Liddle, Debbie Kays, Neil Barnes, Sam Tang and others at the University of Nottingham.[2]

The Periodic Table of Videos
Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff
YouTube information
LocationUniversity of Nottingham
Created byBrady Haran
Presented by
Years activeJune 28, 2008 – present
GenreEducational entertainment
Associated acts


The project began recording on 9 June 2008 and the initial videos were completed on 17 July 2008.[3] The collection includes videos, each just a few minutes long, for all 118 known elements with a video for each element, as well as many additional supplemental chemistry videos. The 118 element videos and introduction videos were all shot unscripted in June and July 2008.[4]

Since the initial videos were completed in 2008 the team has been refining and uploading revised versions of the videos with new video and in higher resolutions.[4] A key example of this revising is with the xenon video that was redone in honour of professor Neil Bartlett who died on 5 August 2008;[4] Bartlett prepared one of the first xenon compounds, xenon hexafluoroplatinate.[4]


Poliakoff is the most visible presenter on the videos. And his hair, reminiscent of Einstein or a mad scientist, is frequently commented upon.[4] The combination of the professor's hair and amusing experiments has made these videos quite popular.[4] Although uncertain what to think about the attention given to his hair, Professor Poliakoff is excited with the success of the videos, stating "With a few hours of work, I have lectured to more students than I have reached in my entire career."[4][3] The YouTube channel as of December 2018, has over 1.1 million subscribers and the videos have surpassed 190 million views.[5] The YouTube channel is now one of the most popular chemistry related channels on all of YouTube.[6] The producers of the videos have received praise from Nobel Laureates, chemistry professors, and the general public, says Professor Poliakoff.[4] Chemistry Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann has even offered his praise of the videos, stating they "are like the best reality show I've ever seen – the universe revealing itself, element by element."[4]

The videos feature various experiments and demonstrations of the elements, some too dangerous to be performed in a classroom.[4][7] Though the presenters take appropriate precautions when doing such experiments and provide adequate warnings, some scientists have criticized the dangerous experiments fearing people might try them at home and get hurt.[4] The intent of the videos is to bring chemistry to a new generation of students and to get them enthused about science and understand how chemists think and what chemists are trying to do.[8][9] Many school teachers now incorporate these videos into their classes,[3][8] and the professor has even recorded video responses to some of the students' questions.[10] Some of the most popular videos are those of sodium,[9] potassium, and uranium.

The Periodic Table of Videos team has had two live performances to date, the first in May 2009 at the Broadway Media Centre in Nottingham, and most recently in July 2010 at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in Turin, Italy.[3]


A grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council of £25,249 was awarded on 19 January, 2010 to extend the video library to include topical videos on molecules of general interest.[6][11] The first of these new videos were on carbon dioxide and methane.[6]


The Periodic Table of Videos has filmed at least one video for each of the 118 elements (from hydrogen to oganesson).[12] They have also filmed several videos that discuss molecules such as D2O (heavy water)[13] and sulfuric acid.[14] Also filmed are "Chem definitions" that provide an explanation to words that are used in chemistry. Lastly, the team has filmed "Roadtrips" where they travel to different places in the world that have an importance in chemistry (such as the mine outside Ytterby, Sweden, which had four elements – yttrium, terbium, erbium, and ytterbium – named after it.)


  1. ^ @periodicvideos (2 Dec 2017). "A million subscribers on YouTube – thanks everyone… Plenty more good stuff to come" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Jonathan M. Gitlin (July 16, 2008). "Periodic Table brought to life". Ars Technica. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d Brady Haran (producer) (31 May 2010). The Professor talks about The Periodic Table of Videos. Nottingham, UK: The Periodic Table of Videos. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ritter, Stephen (September 15, 2008). "Elements Achieve Internet Stardom". Chemical & Engineering News. 86 (37): 42–43. doi:10.1021/cen-v086n037.p042. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  5. ^ Periodic Videos's channel on YouTube
  6. ^ a b c It's elementary, my dear Poliakoff!. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. June 4, 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Elements brought to life online". BBC News. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b Web Wizard. CBS News. 20 December 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  9. ^ a b Matthew Moore (15 Jul 2008). "YouTube periodic table: Explosive video guides". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  10. ^ Brady Haran (producer) (3 August 2009). Questions for The Professor – Periodic Table of Videos. Nottingham, UK: The Periodic Table of Videos. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  11. ^ "The Periodic Table of Videos: MolVids Grant". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  12. ^ Read below the periodic table "Tables charting the chemical elements have been around since the 19th century – but this modern version has a short video about each one. We've done all 118 – but our job's not finished. Now we're updating all the videos with new stories, better samples and bigger experiments. Plus we're making films about other areas of chemistry, latest news and occasional adventures away from the lab. We've also started a new series – The Molecular Videos – featuring our favourite molecules and compounds. All these videos are created by video journalist Brady Haran, featuring real working chemists from the University of Nottingham."
  13. ^ Heavy water video
  14. ^ Sulfuric acid video

Further reading

External links

Alfred Maddock

Alfred Gavin "Alfie" Maddock (1917-2009) was an English inorganic chemist, radiochemist and spectroscopist who worked on the Tube Alloys Project and the Manhattan Project during World War II. Those projects resulted in the development of the atomic bomb. He may be best known for, during World War II, spilling Canada's entire supply of plutonium onto a wooden laboratory bench, and for recovering it by wet chemistry. He also had a distinguished, though less eventful, post-war academic career.

Brady Haran

Brady John Haran (born 18 June 1976) is an Australian-born British independent filmmaker and video journalist who is known for his educational videos and documentary films produced for BBC News and his YouTube channels, the most notable being Periodic Videos and Numberphile. Haran is also the co-host of the Hello Internet podcast along with fellow YouTuber CGP Grey. On August 22, 2017, Haran launched his second podcast, called The Unmade Podcast, and on November 11, 2018, he launched his third podcast, The Numberphile Podcast, based on his mathematics-centered channel of the same name.

C. V. Raman

Sir Chandrashekhara Venkata Raman (; 7 November 1888 – 21 November 1970) was an Indian physicist born in the former Madras Province in India (presently the state of Tamil Nadu), who carried out ground-breaking work in the field of light scattering, which earned him the 1930 Nobel Prize for Physics. He discovered that when light traverses a transparent material, some of the deflected light changes wavelength and amplitude. This phenomenon, subsequently known as Raman scattering, results from the Raman effect. In 1954, the Indian government honoured him with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

FIFA World Cup Trophy

The World Cup is a gold trophy that is awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup association football tournament. Since the advent of the World Cup in 1930, two trophies have been used: the Jules Rimet Trophy from 1930 to 1970, and the FIFA World Cup Trophy from 1974 to the present day.

The first trophy, originally named Victory, but later renamed in honour of FIFA president Jules Rimet, was made of gold plated sterling silver and lapis lazuli and depicted Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Brazil won the trophy outright in 1970, prompting the commissioning of a replacement. The original Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen in 1983 and never recovered.

The subsequent trophy, called the "FIFA World Cup Trophy", was introduced in 1974. Made of 18 carat gold with bands of malachite on its base, it stands 36.8 centimetres high and weighs 6.1 kilograms. The trophy was made by Stabilimento Artistico Bertoni company in Italy. It depicts two human figures holding up the Earth. The current holders of the trophy are France, winners of the 2018 World Cup.

Ida Freund

Ida Freund (15 April 1863 – 15 May 1914) was the first woman to be a university chemistry lecturer in the United Kingdom. She is known for her influence on science teaching, particularly the teaching of women and girls. She wrote two key chemistry textbooks and invented the idea of baking periodic table cupcakes, as well as inventing a gas measuring tube which was named after her.

Joseph Poliakoff

Joseph Lazarevich Poliakoff (Russian: Ио́сиф Ла́заревич Поляко́в; 24 April 1873 – 24 November 1959) was a Russian-born British telephone and sound engineer and inventor, particularly of hearing aids.Poliakoff was a Russian Jew who experienced first-hand the communist revolution in Russia from the family's Moscow flat across from the Kremlin. Near starvation after the revolution, he was given a government job as a district telephone inspector from an admiring commissar and he helped build Moscow's first automatic telephone exchange. He then fled with his family from the newly Stalinist Soviet Union to the UK in 1924.Poliakoff was a renowned inventor of electrical devices whose many inventions included a selenium photograph telephony shutter in 1899 (US patent 700,100, 26 August 1901), which, along with electrical sound amplification, allowed for synchronized audio on film, the radio volume control, a magnetic induction loop that allowed hearing-impaired people to hear in auditoriums or theatres, and the paging beeper.He also founded the Multitone Electric Company of London, England in 1931 that produced hearing aid devices, with their most prestigious client being Winston Churchill. Poliakoff was managing director until 1938.He married Flora Shabbat, a granddaughter of a textile millionaire. His son, Alexander Poliakoff (1910–1996) was chairman of Multitone Electronics for over 40 years, and his grandsons are the chemist Sir Martyn Poliakoff and the dramatist/director Stephen Poliakoff.

Kenneth Wade

Kenneth Wade, (1932–2014) was a British chemist, and professor emeritus at Durham University.

List of chemistry mnemonics

A mnemonic is a memory aid used to improve long term memory and make the process of consolidation easier. Many chemistry aspects, rules, names of compounds, sequences of elements, their reactivity, etc., can be easily and efficiently memorized with the help of mnemonics. This article contains the list of certain mnemonics in chemistry.

Martyn Poliakoff

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff (born 16 December 1947) is a British chemist, working on gaining insights into fundamental chemistry, and on developing environmentally acceptable processes and materials. The core themes of his work are supercritical fluids, infrared spectroscopy and lasers. He is a research professor in chemistry at the University of Nottingham. His group comprises several members of staff, postdoctoral research fellows, postgraduate students and overseas visitors. As well as carrying out research at the University of Nottingham, he is a lecturer, teaching a number of modules including green chemistry. He is also known for his leading role in The Periodic Table of Videos.

Silvio Gazzaniga

Silvio Gazzaniga (Italian pronunciation: [ˈsilvjo ɡaddzaˈniɡa]; 23 January 1921 – 31 October 2016) was an Italian sculptor. While working for the Stabilimento Artistico Bertoni company, he created the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Stephen Liddle

Stephen T. Liddle FRSC is a British professor of Inorganic chemistry at the University of Manchester. He is Head of Inorganic Chemistry and Co-Director of the Centre for Radiochemistry Research at the University of Manchester since 2015.

Stephen Poliakoff

Stephen Poliakoff, CBE, FRSL (born 1 December 1952) is a British playwright, director and scriptwriter.


Vsauce () is a YouTube channel brand created by Internet celebrity Michael Stevens. The channels feature videos on scientific, psychological, mathematical, and philosophical topics, as well as gaming, technology, popular culture, and other general interest subjects.

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