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Periodic Table

A periodic table of signal flags

May 5, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 18


Letters to the editor

Celebrating the periodic table

I enthusiastically join thousands of other chemists in appreciating the articles on the periodic table. I suggest that at the end of the year you gather them up into a special issue—it would be a great educational souvenir.

Joe Atkinson
Ottawa, Ontario

As this is the International Year of the Periodic Table, I thought you might find my signal flag periodic table interesting. In the International Code of Signals, each flag represents a letter. I created a periodic table using these flags for students at the US Naval Academy about 4 years ago. I made it into place mats by laminating a version that is 11 × 17 in (28 × 43 cm). One of my students said, “This is the nerdiest thing I have ever seen.” I told her that she did not need to take one. She said, “No! That is why I want it.”

The flags nested in the lap of the periodic table say “Flag Chemistry” and then the alphabet.

Joe Lomax
Annapolis, Maryland


This article was updated on May 17, 2019, to correct the first flag for krypton.


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