Elements of research

I’ve seen a few periodic tables doing the rounds on Twitter where people have filled in the elements that they’ve worked with. This is not a new thing — I’ve seen these over the last few years — but with it currently being the International Year of the Periodic Table (#IYPT2019) and all, I think they might be cropping up more often than in the past. So, I figured I’d give it a go, and this is what I got:

It looks a bit pitiful to be honest. No iron? No zinc? And what about copper and nickel… anyway, for those of you playing along, here are The Rules:

1. These are my rules, if you don’t like them, come up with your own (theorists, you’re on your own here)

2. These are elements (almost without exception as compounds) that I *know* I’ve personally used in experiments during research (as an undergraduate student, as a graduate student and as a postdoc); I am also counting anything used in reaction work-ups.

3. I’ve not included anything I used when I was in teaching labs as an undergrad — mostly because it was a depressingly long time ago and I have no idea what I did or did not use. I could guess, but that seems like cheating. And who hasn’t done a barium flame test (as my wife reminded me earlier this evening)?

4. Trace impurities in your solvents/reagents don’t count. It’s the thing on the label that does.

5. I’m not counting what my reaction vessels, various analytical instruments or other machines/tools of the trade are made of.

6. I’m having argon though. I put it in many a reaction flask and it was there for a very specific purpose. And let’s face it, there’s no other way I’d be able to count it…

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