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Explosive free public lecture: Essential elements

Explosive free public lecture: Essential elements – Where would we be without the Periodic Table?

UC Connect public lecture: Essential elements – Where would we be without the Periodic Table?

The year 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, declared by the United Nations to raise awareness of its beauty and significance. The periodic table is known around the world to scientists and non-scientists. But how did we get here? Find out in an explosive free public lecture for all ages on Thursday night.

The arrangement of little squares, each containing a number and an element symbol, is instantly recognisable to most people. However it didn’t always look like that. Over time the periodic table has evolved as new elements were predicted and discovered or ‘manufactured’.

The chemical elements play a vital role in our daily lives and are crucial for humankind and our planet, as well as for industry. Particular fields where the periodic table and its understanding have had a revolutionary impact include nuclear medicine, the study of chemical elements and compounds in space, and the prediction of novel materials.

In this upcoming UC Connect public lecture, Essential elements – Where would we be without the Periodic Table?, University of Canterbury Chemistry academic Associate Professor Sarah Masters will introduce the periodic table, explore its evolution to become what we currently know and accept, and ponder what might have happened had Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev and German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer not organised the elements into some form of repetitive table.

The lecture will also look at some of the greatest achievements that have arisen from our understanding of the periodic table, from medicine to materials to our understanding of space.

Dr Sarah Masters is an Associate Professor in Structural Chemistry and Director of Postgraduate Studies in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences at the University of Canterbury. Educated at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, she moved to UC in 2011 researching molecular structure of gas phase molecules and teaching many aspects of chemistry, from ‘what is in an atom and how do we know?’ to advanced methods to analyse molecular materials. Associate Professor Masters is the President of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and has been leading events in New Zealand to mark the International Year of the Periodic Table.

UC Connect public lecture: Essential elements – Where would we be without the Periodic Table? by Associate Professor Sarah Masters, School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, UC College of Science, 7pm – 8pm, Thursday 17 October 2019, C Block lecture theatres at the University of Canterbury, Ilam campus, Christchurch. Register to attend free at:


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