WEST CHESTER (November 4, 2019) – State Senator Andy Dinniman joined students, professors and other elected officials at West Chester University (WCU) today to celebrate the 140th Anniversary of the Periodic Table of Elements.
The celebration was held before WCU’s interactive periodic table located in Schmucker Science Center. The 10-by-six foot display is built into one of the center’s walls and includes samples of individual elements, pictures of the scientists who discovered them and common objects containing them. WCU is one of only two universities in the East Coast region have such a display.
“140 years ago, our understanding of science transformed with the usage of the Periodic Table,” Dinniman, who serves as Minority Chair of the Senate Education Committee, said. “In today’s education, chemistry is not only a highly valued study – its increasing uses in interdisciplinary teaching are vital.”
Dmitri Mendeleev popularized the column system of the Periodic Table in 1869, and by using atomic weight as his system of measurement, discovered that there were still “periodical” steps missing in the chart – in other words, missing elements. He left those missing slots in the table blank. Years later, these elements would be discovered, such as gallium and germanium.
Dr. Melissa Cichowicz, department chair of chemistry at WCU, spoke on both the table’s history and the visual appeal of the interactive table.
“I think that it’s a beautifully artistic display, and it shows that science and art can come together in some amazing ways that people don’t always think about … but, if you look for those connections, you can make some beautiful objects as a result,” said Cichowicz.
Dr. Jeffrey and Nancy Evelhoch, the donors who provided the funds to create the interactive periodic table, were also in attendance.
Dinniman presented university and Chemistry Department officials with a special Senate citation honoring the WCU’s Chemistry Department.
In September, Dinniman introduced Senate Resolution 230, honoring 2019 as the “International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements” in Pennsylvania