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Periodic table projected on campus is 'first for London'

Projection was aimed at highlighting the need to recycle old tech devices

The University of East London has become the first education institution in the city to project the periodic table onto one of its campus buildings, aimed at highlighting the need to recycle old tech devices.

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) invited the University to host the projection at University Square Stratford earlier this week, as part of its International Year of the Periodic Table initiatives, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Mendeleev Periodic Table of Elements. 

Many of the elements of the periodic table are now in critical danger of running out, according to Dr Tony Raynham, leader of the Chemistry programmes at the University of East London. 

“This eye-catching display saw the periodic table come alive across the campus and highlighted a serious issue – the threat to a growing number of elements.”

Research carried out by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), in a recent Ipsos MORI survey, found that 45 % of UK households have up to five unused electronic devices, which harbour precious elements at risk of running out.

According to Dr Raynham, “virtually everything we do or use in our day to day life is driven by chemistry. Whether it’s the clothes we wear or the food we eat, we are all using chemicals and performing chemical reactions. 

“There are many challenges, such as preserving the scarce elements we use, reducing global warming caused by carbon dioxide, and preventing pollution of the environment with plastics, that require immediate action. Our future chemists will be key players in meeting these challenges,” Dr Raynham added. 

Robert Parker, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “In the future, they [elements] could be needed for other technologies that we haven’t even discovered yet – for health, green energy, treating pollution and more.”

The University was one of 11 leading institutions in the UK and Ireland invited by the RSC to host a projection.

The other universities lighting up are Newcastle, Northumbria, Keele, Edinburgh, Middlesex, Manchester Metropolitan, Trinity College Dublin, St Andrews, Southampton and Nottingham.

“Science needs to travel to the places where people are in the community and this event was an exciting way to make Science much easier to digest,” said Daniela De Ceita, a second-year BSc Chemistry student at the University of East London.

“With the projection, I’ve discovered new facts about elements, including Gallium, and it will encourage prospective students to consider studying Chemistry, as they’ll realise it’s fun and not scary at all.”