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Announcing the "I Spy a Periodic Table" photo contest results

In celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table, we picked our top entries. Vote for your favorite and view all the submissions

by Dorea I. Reeser and Lauren K. Wolf

I spy with my little eye, 427 periodic tables! That’s right, we had 427 entries in our #ISpyAPeriodicTable contest. They flooded in from Twitter, Instagram, and our online form. The competition ran from Jan. 4 to Feb. 4 in celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT).

It was a tough task, but the staff at C&EN picked their favorites in the following categories: cupcakes, fashion, historical, housewares, kids and pets, school and office, tiny tables, and other. Scroll down to check them out. You can view the entire pool of submissions we received in the interactive table at the bottom.

Now it’s your turn to vote. Select your favorite among the category winners by participating in our poll. The winner—the readers’ choice—will be announced March 4 and will receive a grand prize: a periodic table wall clock from our collaborator, ChemScrapes cartoonist Brendan Burkett. All other winners will receive a special periodic table travel mug.

Vote for your favorite

Here are the winners in each category, selected by C&EN. Voting for your favorite has closed. Stay tuned for the Readers' Choice announcement.

@SallyBChemistry via Twitter

Best of cupcakes

Readers love their elemental cupcakes, especially the ones with sprinkles. The winner in this category is Sally B. Mitchell (@SallyBChemistry), a chemistry and physics teacher at Rye High School, in New York, for her Twitter photo of a deliciously crafted periodic table cupcake holder. A must-have for all chemists.

Tianfei Liu via Web Form

Best of housewares

You chemistry lovers keep periodic tables all over the house. They’re featured on mugs, cutting boards, shower curtains, and more. The winner of this category is Tianfei Liu (@TianfeiLiu), who used the online form to submit this image of a beautiful handmade cup decorated with a periodic table in Chinese.

@zerozero43 via Instagram

Best of other (1)

A number of the tables submitted didn’t fit into any of our main categories. But we loved them nonetheless. Our two favorites among these nonconformers (we couldn’t pick just one) are from professors José Barros (@zerozero43) and Ricardo Michel of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who submitted these gelatin molds via Instagram, and from Jan Radford (@JanRadford), associate professor of general practice at the University of Tasmania, who submitted this amazing tile work via Twitter.

Missy Westgate via Web Form

Best of fashion

Who knew the periodic table was so fashionable? Of all the T-shirts, vests, shoes, and scarves submitted, the top choice in our book is this photo, submitted through our online form by Missy Westgate of Ottawa, Ontario. She writes: “When I saw the fabric, I knew it was perfect for my Dr of Chemistry husband!!”

@mrs_langman via Twitter

Best of kids and pets

Cuteness overload! Chemists love their periodic tables and their babies, furry and otherwise. The winner in this category is Lauren Langman, a chemistry teacher at Montour High School, in Pennsylvania, for submitting a Twitter photo of this future chemist.

@JanRadford via Twitter

Best of other (2)

A number of the tables submitted didn’t fit into any of our main categories. But we loved them nonetheless. Our two favorites among these nonconformers (we couldn’t pick just one) are from professors José Barros (@zerozero43) and Ricardo Michel of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who submitted these gelatin molds via Instagram, and from Jan Radford (@JanRadford), associate professor of general practice at the University of Tasmania, who submitted this amazing tile work via Twitter.

@thesn98 via Twitter

Best of historical

Dmitri Mendeleev’s periodic table is 150 years old, and it has been depicted in myriad ways. Our favorite historical version is this one, captured on Twitter by João Victor Silva Néto (@thesn98), an undergraduate student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

David Harvey via Web Form

Best of school and office

The periodic table is beautiful to chemists, so they love to use it to decorate the places in which they spend a lot of time: their classrooms and desks. Our favorite in this category was submitted via our online form by David Harvey of North Little Rock, Arkansas. Harvey labels the photo as follows: “My son putting samples in a periodic table display he built for his high school.”

@bobthechemist via Twitter

Best of tiny tables

Chemists like to take their periodic tables everywhere, whether on credit cards or key chains. The winner of this category is Robert LeSuer (@bobthechemist), a chemistry professor at the College at Brockport, for his 3-D printed version, shared on Twitter, depicting the first ionization energies of the elements. To print your own, check out his Journal of Chemical Education article (2018, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00592).

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See all #ISpyAPeriodicTable photo submissions

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Celebrating the periodic table

Dmitri Mendeleev published his periodic system for classifying all the known elements 150 years ago. That system gave birth to the periodic table we've come to know and love. To celebrate this anniversary, the United Nations General Assembly and UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization proclaimed 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. C&EN is joining the celebration by releasing original content—features, videos, photos, and more—throughout 2019.

How the periodic table changed my life

YouTube star Sir Martyn Poliakoff and other essayists share personal stories about how the elements have shaped their worlds

Element collecting: A niche hobby that connects people to chemistry

Enthusiasts assemble personal museums of metals, minerals, and other matter as they strive to collect them all

39 elements in 10 days

A historical periodic table road trip

Kit Chapman tells stories of the superheavy elements

The science journalist’s new book explores the people and places at the edge of the periodic table

To get noble gases to forge bonds, chemists go to extremes

Despite challenging conditions and a lack of funding, some researchers still see rewards in coaxing reactivity from these nearly inert elements

Exploring the superheavy elements at the end of the periodic table

These scientists want to know how elements 104 through 118 look and behave

Periodic Graphics: The origins of the elements

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning shines a light on how the big bang and reactions in stars forged the elements

Honoring the periodic table with pub trivia and Peeps

A periodic table of signal flags

Podcast: Scientists share what it takes to make a superheavy element

Inspired by a recent periodic table–themed pub trivia event, Stereo Chemistry explores the stories behind isolating some of the heaviest elements known

Periodic Graphics: Essential elements for humans

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning shines a light on the parts of the periodic table that make life possible

The International Year of the Periodic Table trivia quiz

A towering testament to scientists’ powers of prediction, the periodic table helps us make sense of the chemical elements. You’ve probably seen it scores of times before, but how well do you really know this iconic table? Try testing your knowledge here.

Chemistry in Pictures: Tiny periodic table

 

Constructing the periodic table from thread and yarn

 

Meet the 'I Spy a Periodic Table' Readers’ Choice winner

High school chemistry teacher Lauren Langman inspires chemists of all ages

Chemists explore the periodic table’s actinide frontier

Investigations of the table’s shadowy realms are enjoying a renaissance

Announcing the "I Spy a Periodic Table" photo contest results

In celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table, we picked our top entries. Vote for your favorite and view all the submissions

The International Year of the Periodic Table officially kicks off in Paris

Opening ceremony features periodic tables galore, musical performances, and scientific talks

Sketch Chemistry: Knights of the Periodic Table

To see more Sketch Chemistry, visit cenm.ag/sketch.

The periodic table is an icon. But chemists still can’t agree on how to arrange it

New data about the elements and their relationships have led to debate over the 150-year-old table’s optimum ordering

2019: The year the periodic table gets its due

Join C&EN as we celebrate 150 years of chemistry’s most iconic symbol

From our archives

To celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table, C&EN is re-releasing its favorite essays from our 2003 collectors’ issue honoring the elements. Read the essay we release each month at the C&EN Archives site.