The Periodic Table and us

Jan 23, 2019

The EuChemS Periodic Table depicting element scarcity was unveiled and discussed at a EuChemS event in the European Parliament on Tuesday 22nd January 2019.

The event, chaired by MEPs Catherine Stihler and Clare Moody, presented an encompassing overview of what element scarcity means for us: both on a scientific level, but also economically and politically. A presentation from speaker Natalia Tarasova, IUPAC Past President, contextualised EuChemS’ work within the celebrations of the International Year of the Periodic Table, whilst M Pilar Gil, from the University of St Andrews, delivered a remarkable and exhilarating talk on how the recently discovered oldest known wallchart of the Periodic Table was uncovered and dated.

The two tables, oldest and newest, were unveiled by MEP Catherine Stihler and Pilar Goya, EuChemS President. David Cole-Hamilton, EuChemS Vice-President in turn explained the consequences of element scarcity, and the need to reuse, recycle, recover and reduce the way we use them. He questioned whether we can justify replacing our smartphones every couple of years. Peter Handley, Head of Resource at the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, discussed the Commission’s actions and the strategic importance linked to the issue. Iain Shephard, from the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries presented another aspect: that of available resources on the ocean floors and what the future holds.

It was encouraging to see a variety of participants attend the event, with chemical societies’ representatives from Denmark, Poland, Catalonia, Turkey, and Belgium, as well as representatives from the European Research Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. A class of some 25 pupils from the European School of Brussels also attended.

The launch of the Periodic Table received very wide media coverage with articles appearing in various online papers, from the UK to Australia. You can listen to a short interview with David Cole-Hamilton on BBC World here:

Presentations for the event will be available online here:

More information about the EuChemS Periodic Table, as well as different language versions, can be found here:

Download the press release here.

EuChemS also unveiled a video game “Elemental Escapades!” Take a look here: