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The Periodic Table and us: its history, meaning, and element scarcity

Join us on Tuesday 22 January 2019, from 14:30 – 16:30 in the European Parliament in Brussels, Room ASP 5G305 for the launching of the EuChemS Periodic Table depicting element scarcity, and to listen to a series of talks on the history of the periodic table, its meaning, and what lies ahead in the future. The event is chaired by Member of the European Parliament Catherine Stihler.

Indeed, the phone you may be using right now to read this is made up of some 30 elements – over half of which may give cause for concern in the years to come because of increasing scarcity. With some 10 million smartphones being discarded or replaced every month in the European Union alone, serious actions to tackle the challenges ahead are needed. Element scarcity is intrinsically linked with discussions on the Circular Economy, more efficient recycling practices, innovative alternatives, consumer behaviour, and more besides. Unless solutions are provided, we risk seeing many of the natural elements that make up the world around us run out or become unusable – whether because of limited supplies, their location in conflict areas, or our incapacity to fully recycle them.

Read the Press Release here.

Please find below the preliminary programme & registration for the event.

Registration deadline: 15 January 2019

Programme & Presentations for download

Tuesday 22 January 2019, 14:30 – 16:30, Room ASP 5G305, European Parliament, Brussels.

13:45 – 14:25 Meet-up and registration (meet-up location to be confirmed)

14:30 – 14:40 Welcome Remarks

Catherine Stihler, MEP

Pilar Goya, EuChemS President

14:40 – 14:55  EuChemS Periodic Table & Element Scarcity

David Cole-Hamilton, EuChemS Vice-President

14:55 – 15:10 Critical raw materials in the circular economy and strategic value chains and Horizon2020/Europe [Presentation]

Peter Handley, European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Head of Resource

15:10 – 15:25 The International Year of the Periodic Table 2019 [Presentation]

Natalia Tarasova, IUPAC Past President

15:25 – 15:40 Ocean Resources [Presentation]

Iain Shephard, European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Policy Adviser

15:40 – 15:55 A history of the Periodic Table

Brigitte Van Tiggelen, Chair of EuChemS Working Party on the History of Chemistry

15:55 – 16:10 Discovering the oldest known wallchart of the Periodic Table [Presentation]

M. Pilar Gil, University of St Andrews

16:10 – 16:15 Closing remarks

Clare Moody, MEP

16:15 – 16:30 Q&A


Catherine Stihler, MEP




Pilar Goya, EuChemS President




Natalia Tarasova, IUPAC Past President




Brigitte van Tiggelen, Chair of the EuChemS Working Party on the History of Chemistry

Brigitte Van Tiggelen is Director for European Operations at the Science History Institute, Philadelphia, USA and member of the Centre de Recherche en Histoire des Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium. Graduated both in physics and history, she devoted her PhD to chemistry in the XVIIIth century Belgium. She chairs the EuChemS Working Party on the History of Chemistry since 2013 and the Commission for the History of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (IUHPST) since 2017. To promote history of science among the general public and secondary school teachers, she has founded Mémosciences asbl. Publications include co-edited books From Bench to Brand and Back: The Co-Shaping of Materials and Chemists in the Twentieth Century (2017); Domesticity in the Making of Modern Science (2016); For Better Or for Worse?: Collaborative Couples in the Sciences (2012),and The Public Image of Chemistry (2007).

M. Pilar Gil, University of St Andrews

Pilar Gil works in the division of Special Collections at the University of St Andrews. Before settling down in Scotland, she spent most of her scientific career in the United States where she was an investigator in the fields of Signal Transduction, Transcriptional Regulation of the Immune System and the Biochemistry of Aging. Passionate about the sciences and the humanities, she has a particular interest in the history of science. She has authored books about scientists and their discoveries addressed to children and young adults. M. Pilar Gil holds a PhD in Chemistry and a Master in Immunology from the University of Barcelona and a MLitt in Museum Studies from the University of St Andrews.

David Cole-Hamilton, EuChemS Vice-President




Peter Handley, European Commission

Peter Handley is, since September 2017, Head of the Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials Unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Growth. He was previously Head of the Resource Efficiency Unit at the Secretariat-General, where he was responsible for coordination of Energy Union, 2030 climate and energy package, low emission mobility strategy and the circular economy.


Iain Shephard, European Commission

Clare Moody, MEP