Mendeleev’s great innovation – one of the central developments in the history of modern science – turns 150 this year. But, as so often in science, there is more to the story of the periodic table than the genius of one man. In this issue, we are delighted to add to the anniversary celebrations, starting by highlighting some of the unsung heroines (and a few heroes) whose painstaking collaborative work on particular chemical elements helped to complete the table as we know it today. We also take a look at some of the intriguing designs that have been devised for the periodic system, and – perhaps to wind down the school term – we invite students to test their knowledge of the chemical elements with a quiz.
Elsewhere in this issue, find out about a new technology that blends sound and light to provide safer, clearer images of living tissues, and enjoy some light-hearted physics with coins and simple rocket science. On the very topical theme of the environment, we consider some of the lesser-known factors that can contribute to climate change and investigate the variety of pigments that enable plants to photosynthesise efficiently.
Finally, if you have spent some of this school year wondering just why teenagers behave as they do, you might be interested to read about a neuroscientist who is finding new answers to this perennial question – and advocating for a better understanding of adolescents in society.
On that optimistic note, may we wish you a successful end of the school year and a great summer break.