Its impact is huge: it neatly organizes the substances from which all matter is composed. But this fall, in Chicago, the periodic table of elements is going to literally be huge – eight stories tall.
The world’s largest periodic table of the elements will be unveiled in Chicago on September 22nd as part of the first ever “Chicago Science Expedition“.
The periodic table will be recreated on a grand scale using window space in the Daley Center, a municipal building in downtown Chicago. Each element will have its chemical symbol and atomic number printed on large eight-by-eight foot banners, which will be hung in the windows of the building so that they match the organization of the periodic table.
Through a dynamic collaboration of business, civic, cultural and community organizations, Chicago will demonstrate that science and technology are an integral component of how we live, work, learn and play. The Science Expedition will also include events like lectures on nanotechnology or physics and café scientifique – where scientists will interact with interested parties on an informal level at informal locations, leading discussions about the importance of science, or the inner-workings of their scientific specialties.
Though the event seeks to highlight all sciences, event coordinator Mike Davis explains the importance of using the periodic table of the elements by citing it as a symbol that is central to many fields.
“As a single unifying symbol,” explains Davis, “people naturally associate it with studying science”.
Davis came up with the idea for the oversized periodic table when walking past the Daley Center after discussing plans for Science in the City with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. At first, Davis was simply thinking about if it would be possible to spell out ‘Go Cubs’ in the Daley Center using office lights. After counting the windows, however, he soon realized that the building facade could be used to house a gigantic periodic table.
To subsidize the cost of creating the table, the Chicago Science Expedition planning Committee is offering the chance for interested companies to sponsor an element. For a donation of $3000, a company can select the element of their choice, or for $5000 they can sponsor two elements. This provides the companies with the means to market themselves while educating the public about why specific elements are important in everyday applications. Sponsoring companies will be published in all marketing publications for the Chicago Science Expedition and will be featured in a special supplement of the Chicago Sun-Times, which will detail the usefulness of each element and why it was chosen by its sponsoring company.
The world’s largest periodic table of the elements will be on display at the Daley Center from September 22-29. Those interested in sponsoring an element should contact Mike Davis at email@example.com or (312) 553-3211.
This article first appeared on August 14th on chemistry.org, the website of the American Chemical Society.