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‘Sciart’ celebrating periodic table on show at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge





A ‘SciArt’ piece celebrating the periodic table is on display at St Catharine’s College.

The artwork was created by Dr Peter Wothers and George Trenins.

The periodic table artwork at St Catharine’s College. Picture: Keith Heppell.
The periodic table artwork at St Catharine’s College. Picture: Keith Heppell.

Dr Wothers, Rushton fellow and director of studies in chemistry at the University of Cambridge college, said: “The project started about 10 years ago, when I wondered whether it would work to try to make a 3D density plot for an atom.

“I had seen 2D versions, and then seeing the 3D tourist gifts that you could buy like the Eiffel Tower etched into a glass cube, I wondered if it would be possible to do a 3D density plot in this way. So we did all the calculations and sent the file to one of these companies, and it worked.”

The project began about 10 years ago. Picture: Keith Heppell
The project began about 10 years ago. Picture: Keith Heppell

He continues: “The idea of making a full periodic table coincided with a special exhibition we put together in St Catharine’s to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table in 2019.

“For that occasion, we only had half a periodic table’s worth of orbitals.

Some of the text accompanying the artwork. Picture: Keith Heppell
Some of the text accompanying the artwork. Picture: Keith Heppell

“George Trenins was a former student in theoretical chemistry here at St Catharine’s. He helped do the calculations to produce the files to send to the company – many millions of data points.”



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