It’s 150 years old and a real European success story, 2019 sees the Periodic Table of the Elements celebrate its sesquicentenary.
Norfolk Euro MP Alex Mayer visited the Chemistry department of the University of East Anglia (UEA) with a cake in the design of the iconic symbol of science to mark 2019 as the UN designated International Year of the Periodic Table.
From the mid 18th century onwards scientists such as Humphry Davy began isolating new elements including hydrogen and oxygen. By the late 1860s approximately 60 elements had been identified then in 1869 Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev revolutionised chemistry by presenting the very first periodic table.
The table has expanded since Mendeleev’s time and there are now known to be 118 elements in total. E.U. countries have been responsible for identifying a staggering 88 new elements with the UK at the forefront with 24 discoveries, a real European accomplishment. Even now the hunt is on for element 119.
Alex Mayer MEP said “Chemistry and the Periodic Table might seem a bit geeky but it’s important to realise that the UK’s chemicals industry adds £258 billion to the UK economy, supports 6 million jobs and made up 4.5 per cent of our exports by value in 2016.
“Our Chemists are working with colleagues across the EU and the wider world on the important technological and societal challenges facing humanity including Climate change, Energy, Food supply, Security and Health.
“Unfortunately, I am concerned at the prospect that Norfolk may have reduced access to science and research funding due to Brexit. We need to attract the best scientists as high quality research means better prospects for our economy.
“The Government need to urgently rule out a hard Brexit that excludes us from the Single Market and the European Economic Area, and categorically say no to a “no-deal” Brexit. Otherwise we will see severe consequences for local research institutions.”