Google’s New Interactive Periodic Table Lets You Browse the Elements
(Photo: Vedrana Filipovic/Unsplash)Remember how teachers always told us we wouldn’t have a calculator in our back pocket, and then smartphones ruined that particular excuse for learning math? Google is doing the same with the elements through their new interactive periodic table, which allows users to browse and learn about the stuff that makes up other stuff.
The table is simple and unintimidating at first glance. (The cool thing about legacy scientific reference tables is that they shouldn’t really vary from place to place.) Beneath the surface, however, Google’s searchable classroom poster contains a handful of useful features. Users can click on an element to learn its year of discovery, melting and boiling temperatures, density, and atomic mass. Every element comes with its own fun fact, such as yttrium’s presence in lunar rock and how no one really knows what roentgenium looks like. The top of each element’s informational table displays a Bohr model of that element, while the bottom includes a link to a Google search of the same.
Having earned extremely mediocre scores on my chemistry tests throughout school, I have luckily forged a life for myself that doesn’t require me to look at a periodic table too often. I’d imagine many others are in a similar position. That being said, this is a wonderfully convenient tool for those who haven’t developed a deep fear of chemistry, or who do need to frequently consult the table for school or work. It also makes the concept of chemistry a bit more approachable to those who are less familiar (myself included). Google’s isn’t the first interactive periodic table to have found its way online—Ptable, despite its steeper learning curve, has been around for a while and has more features—but it is a beginner-friendly tool, which may explain why it was released shortly following Google’s announcement of an initiative to make its platform more conducive to learning.
Those looking for the interactive table can use this link or Google search “periodic table,” then click on the “explore elements” button next to the 3D model on the right side of the page. The table does not yet seem to be available in search results when Googling individual elements.