The Periodic Table Personified

Hi, I am Helium.This amusing little book titled Wonderful Life with the Elements caught my eyes few months ago and it quickly became a cherished possession. One of the first thoughts that came to my mind after flipping through few pages of this book was: I wish I had this book while growing up!

The brilliant Japanese artist Bunpei Yorifuji creates this cute little illustrated world where each element from the periodic table is a cartoon character – each with a whimsy of its own. The Carbon dude (shown below) boasts a long whisker because this element was discovered in ancient time. While the recently discovered Radium is a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth. The clothes (or the lack thereof) are modeled after each element’s chemical properties, and the body structures indicate their atomic weight. The scantily clad minerals are hanging around showing off their healthy physique, wearing nothing but a tiny underwear, while elements with industrial applications are dressed-up in suits like businessmen. Uranium is obese because it’s a heavy element. The toxic elements look intimidating with their dark hollow eyes, while the noble gases (like that Helium chap with a balloon, shown above) can be seen sporting stylish afros because…. well, because they are just too cool!

carbonIf you want to “get personal” with the elements of the periodic table, this is your best bet. I am sure I will find myself reaching out to this book every once in a while, and get immersed in this quirky world of elements.

[Image Courtesy: brain pickings]

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Previous posts about the periodic table: Sanskrit in the Periodic Table, What I’ve been Reading.

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5 responses to “The Periodic Table Personified

  1. Cool book! I started reading a similar book a few months back called The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean. It’s also about the interesting facts about the periodic table, and when I was reading it, I also started thinking: I wish I read this book back in school.

  2. Awesome illustrations! So thoughtful! I would never forget difference between uranium and helium;)

    • These characters do stay with you long after you meet with them. Bunpei also created some ‘Do it at home’ posters for Tokyo subway (to encourage subway etiquette) that were quite funny and creative.

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