The Disappearing Spoon, The Rooster and the Bearded Russian

Reactions Science Videos

Reactions - Uncover the Chemistry in Everyday Life

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This week on Reactions, we look at the chemistry of gallium, the science behind the holes in the periodic table, and the history of how the elements fell into place. Some chemists might see the periodic table of elements as a holy testament to the power of science. However, when it first debuted, it was a different kind of holey, and its journey to classroom walls everywhere had a whole lot of bumps. Watch as Reactions digs into the history of the periodic table with the help of a vanishing spoon, a man named after a rooster, and a bearded Russian.


  • Kean, Sam. The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. Random House, 2011. 54-56
  • Bunsen & Kirchhoff - analytical spectroscopy
  • Chemistry in its Element Podcast, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Crisp, D., A. Pathare, and R. C. Ewell. "The performance of gallium arsenide/germanium solar cells at the Martian surface." Acta Astronautica 54.2 (2004): 83-101.)
  • Atkins, P.W. The periodic kingdom. Basic Books, 1997
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics (88th Ed.)


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