The Web offers any number of periodic charts, but this one from Los Alamos National Laboratory is by far among the best. From the home page illustration, you can click through on any element to find all the vital facts, as well as a short descriptions of its history, sources, compounds, uses, forms and isotopes. You can also download the entire site to your computer. Additional pages feature how to use the periodic chart, how new elements are named, Mendeleev's original periodic table and chemistry basics.
Image: THE COMIC BOOK PERIODIC TABLE OF THE ELEMENTS
Krypton isn't the only element to show up in the pages of comic books. As you will learn at this site, superheroes of all shapes and sizes¿and cape colors¿know their periodic chart. Reading the comics might just help you master the secrets of metals and noble gases as well. The site covers an astonishing number of elements¿from oxygen to the Metal Men (Gold, Tin, Mercury, Lead and Platinum) to molybdenum. A nice search engine lets you quickly mine the periodic table of comics, and if you are so inclined, you can join the ChemComics discussion group.
From the active ingredients in chili peppers to artificial sweeteners, this site features a different chemical compound each month, complete with short descriptions and models. The selections are far from the dull, brown-bottle lab standards you may remember from high school. Browsing the list back to 1996, you'll find Frankincense, Sarin, Zyban, LSD, Taxol and many other noteworthy molecules.
This site helps you get your hands around a host of everyday substances almost as well as a chemistry kit of ball and sticks. Using your mouse, you can rotate the molecular models they provide and get a full, three-dimensional view of how the chemicals are assembled, atom by atom. The featured molecules fall in a range of categories, including minerals, poisons, drugs, amino acids and the like.
Who said malls aren't educational? To teach visitors about polymers, the creators of this site have built a virtual shopping center. On level one, you can visit about 20 shops¿including Pasteur's Family Pharmacy, Firewalker's Shoe Store, Tons o' Toys and a food court¿and learn about the polymers in their wares. Level two boasts descriptions of common polymers. Level three explains how the molecules work, and level four tells you how they are made. Serious shoppers will enjoy level five, which describes the various techniques scientists use to study polymers.
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