Wells

Chemistry - the Elements

LeaderSteve
Meeting pattern2nd Tuesday of the Month at 2.00-4.00 pm
VenueWells

The group currently has 8 members, but there is enough room for 4 more people to join.

The initial aim of the group will be to look at the Periodic Table in a new way. Each person in the group will select a particular element and as well as providing the basic properties of the element will look into its social history in more detail. It is much more about why we need specific elements and what role they play in society than a detailed listing of its chemistry. To make it more interesting only the presenter and Steve, as leader, will know which element is to be discussed at each meeting; so surprises for everyone else.

Topics to be covered for each element

  • Who found it?
  • Basic properties.
  • Where is it mined/obtained?
  • How it is processed?
  • What are its end uses?
  • How much is produced?
  • What is its price?
  • How important is it to mankind?
  • What effect has it had on the world?

It will be a self-taught group with each person taking it in turn to research and present an hours’ worth of information on their selected element. Whilst Wikipedia will be an obvious source of basic information it will require a broader vision and deeper research to make the topics really interesting.

Some thoughts on chemistry

The discovery of Hydrogen was drawn out over close to 150 years being first noticed in the 16th century but it was not until the early part of the 18th century that Henry Cavendish identified it as a discrete substance and he could be said to have discovered it. However, it was the detailed work of Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier in the 1780’s, who gave hydrogen its name and really identified most of its key properties. Over the next 150 years massive advances were made in chemistry and we now have a fully functioning Periodic Table and using a quantum microscope can even produce images of the electron orbitals for hydrogen. One of the key functions for hydrogen in society will be as a fuel both for future cars, to replace petroleum products and in fusion reactors to produce electricity.

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