Magic and the periodic table of the elements


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Magic and the periodic table of the elements

  1. 1. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Magic and the Periodic Table of the Elements G4G11, Atlanta, 20/3/2014 Miquel DURAN Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis Universitat de Girona @miquelduran This presentation is available at Fernando BLASCO Depto. Matemática Aplicada, ETSI Montes Universidad Politécnica de Madrid @fblascoc
  2. 2. Miquel Duran @miquelduran My tweetCV • University professor. Research in Quantum Chemistry. Digital Science Communication, Magic and Science, MOOCs, TEDx events, Open Knowledge (see also @quelet)
  3. 3. Miquel Duran @miquelduran But look.. Girona has the best socializing chemical lab in the world i.e., the best restaurant - “El Celler de Can Roca”
  4. 4. Miquel Duran @miquelduran The ancient Periodic Table of the Elements: water, earth, wind and fire (From Wikipedia). 4 elements to Alchemy – Other cultures had more elements Row: Humidity similar Column: Temperature similar Wind Fire Water Earth
  5. 5. Miquel Duran @miquelduran The current Periodic Table of the Elements Girona’s Periodic Table of the Elements
  6. 6. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Gardnerine: alkaloid from Gardneria plant - C20H24N2O2 Image from wikipedia
  7. 7. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Martin Gardner’s books and the PTE • The last recreations: Hydras, Eggs, and Other Mathematical Mystifications: “The wonders of a planiverse” • Sixth book of Mathematical Diversions: – Extraterrestrial communication: the inhabitants of Planet X might understand a description of the periodic table of elements more readily than a description of a house or tree – Wolfgang Pauli's exclusion principle, which finally explained the structure of the periodic table of elements, was the outcome of combinatorial thinking.
  8. 8. Miquel Duran @miquelduran G4G11… or should it be Ga4Ga11 ? Or GaBeGaNa ?
  9. 9. Miquel Duran @miquelduran And also… Or should it be GaGaGa aka Ga3 (Gathering for Gardner in Georgia) Curiosity: Gallium (Ga) has atomic number #31, but Georgia (GA) ZIP code is #30 ! A near miss! And Gallium is used to bend spoons in actual magic performances G4G11 is held in At La N Ta !
  10. 10. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Chemical elements in Magic • Helium: change voice of magician • Nitrogen: in liquid state – petrifier • Zinc – cooper to silver coins • Gallium – spoon bending • Posphorous – fireworks (3 allotropes) • Iodine – gives color to starch • Sulfur • Mercurium – pulsating effect Spoon bending kit, Amazon
  11. 11. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Chemical elements in Magic • Beauty of Bismuth Cristals • All kinds of alloys – memory materials – Magnets, e.g. Neodimium Source: wikipedia
  12. 12. Miquel Duran @miquelduran • 2011: International Year of Chemistry • 2014: Now International Year of Crystallography: Quasycristalls, Penrose Tiles, Art, Golden Ratio, and a Gilbreath-related trick by De Bruijn
  13. 13. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Cards, Periodic Table and so • One-to-one correspondence btw atomic symbols and atomic numbers • Periodic table characteristic: one of the rare ways Nature provides natural numbers. • There are ca. twice elements (103) as standard poker cards (52) • The number of lantanides and actinides is ca. the number of cards in a suit (13) • Main columns are length 5 - suitable for poker games and trick
  14. 14. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Adapting classical MG game
  15. 15. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Classical MG game (SciAm version) 4 pairs: H/O, C/Al, Fe/As, Mo/Br They sum up to Pb ! Four double-numbered cards: MG game, triple outcome. Each card has x and x+n. Prediction must be 4x+2n.
  16. 16. Miquel Duran @miquelduran • Calendar tricks can be translated into PTE. • Gilbreath-2 tricks: 2 columns, 2 rows, two groups • Gilbreath-4 tricks: same • Gibreath-n for a particular row or column • Fibonacci-related tricks, (Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Boron, Oxygen, Aluminum, ...) • Parity games • Spelling • The dream row-column
  17. 17. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Two key properties of TPE that may provide new tricks + games • PTE has a correspondence between numbers and 1- and 2-letter atomic symbols. Thus one can mask numbers while teaching TPE. • Symbols are either one- or two-letter, and their order is relevant.
  18. 18. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Now a small trick to teach a few atomic symbols • Write 7 cards each with H, N, C, T, B, R, G • Write 7 cards, 3 with A and 4 with E (or opposite) • Duplicate if necessary (total of 14 or 28 cards). • Alternate, Rosseta or Riffle Shuffle, or make 2 stacks (Gilbreath-2) • Show that you always get a valid Element!
  19. 19. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Two more things… • Carbon: C60, graphene, … – Nobel Prize 1996: fullerenes – Nobel Prize 2010: graphene – Nobel Prize 2011: quasicrystals • Chirality and Martin Gardner – Chiral Apples – Chiral Hypercard – Chiral tetrominoes and pentominoes
  20. 20. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Clathrus ruber: a fullerenic mushroom
  21. 21. Miquel Duran @miquelduran (Endo)fullerenes
  22. 22. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Relation to the Gilbreath principle and Martin Gardner
  23. 23. Miquel Duran @miquelduran • Atomic model of an aluminium-palladium- manganese (Al-Pd-Mn) quasicrystal surface
  24. 24. Miquel Duran @miquelduran MG apples: useful to teach Chirality
  25. 25. Miquel Duran @miquelduran All chemistry is magic • Chemistry is magic itself • We plan a MOOC “Magic, Science and Confessable Secrets” (MOOC: Massive Open Online Course)
  26. 26. Miquel Duran @miquelduran And now a question for you… think of your badge and answer… How many symmetric two-letter pairs can you find in the Periodic Table of the Elements? e.g.; As/Sa How many of them are fully consonantic? Which vowel is dominant? (i.e., gamification of the PTE)
  27. 27. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Take home message • I’m a (quantum) chemist, but I’m not a bad guy… • Chemistry is magic • There’s chemistry in magic: it creates bonds • Thanks!
  28. 28. Miquel Duran @miquelduran Key ideas to (tweet and to) take away • The Periodic Table of the Elements is a valuable tool in magic, and magic is a valuable tool, in turn, to teach the PTE • There is no Chemical Magic. Chemistry is magic itself. • Education is not a preparation for life.. Education is life itself • Let me introduce you to my favourite chemist – Panoramix • Thank you! • This presentation is available at