A New Database Captures the Smells of European History, from 16th-Century to the Early 20th-Century

But when from a long-dis­tant past noth­ing sub­sists, after the peo­ple are dead, after the things are bro­ken and scat­tered, still, alone, more frag­ile, but with more vital­i­ty, more unsub­stan­tial, more per­sis­tent, more faith­ful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, wait­ing and hop­ing for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfal­ter­ing, in the tiny and almost impal­pa­ble drop of their essence, the vast struc­ture of rec­ol­lec­tion. — Mar­cel Proust, Swann’s Way

His­to­ry favors the eyes.

Visu­al art can tell us what indi­vid­u­als who died long before the advent of pho­tog­ra­phy looked like, as well as the sort of fash­ions, food and decor one might encounter in house­holds both opu­lent and hum­ble.

Our ears are also priv­i­leged in this regard, whether we’re lis­ten­ing to a Gre­go­ri­an chant per­formed in a cathe­dral or an ace sound designer’s cin­e­mat­ic recre­ation of the D‑Day land­ings.

With a few judi­cious ingre­di­ent sub­sti­tu­tions, we can even get a sense of what an Ancient Roman sal­ad, a 4000-year-old Baby­lon­ian stew, and a 5000-year-old Chi­nese beer tast­ed like.

Pity the poor neglect­ed nose. Scents are ephemer­al! How often have we won­dered what Ver­sailles real­ly smelled back in the 17th cen­tu­ry, when unbathed aris­to­crats in unlaun­dered fin­ery packed into high soci­ety’s unven­ti­lat­ed salons?

On the oth­er hand, giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty, do we real­ly want to know?

Odeu­ropa, the Euro­pean olfac­to­ry her­itage project, answers with a resound­ing yes.

Among its ini­tia­tives is an inter­ac­tive Smell Explor­er that invites vis­i­tors to dive deep into smells as  cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na.

Devel­oped by an inter­na­tion­al team of com­put­er sci­en­tists, AI experts and human­i­ties schol­ars, the Smell Explor­er is a vast com­pendi­um of smells as rep­re­sent­ed in 23,000 images and 62,000 pub­lic domain texts, includ­ing nov­els, the­atri­cal scripts, trav­el­ogues, botan­i­cal text­books, court records, san­i­tary reports, ser­mons, and med­ical hand­books.

This resource offers a fresh lens for con­sid­er­ing the past through our noses, an unflinch­ing look at var­i­ous olfac­to­ry real­i­ties of life in Europe from the 15th through ear­ly 20th cen­turies.

Sur­vivors of ear­li­er plagues and pan­demics might have asso­ci­at­ed their tri­als with the puri­fy­ing aro­mas of burn­ing rose­mary and hot tar, just as the scents of sour­dough and the way a hand­sewn cot­ton face mask’s inte­ri­or smelled after sev­er­al hours of wear con­jure the ear­ly days of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic for many of us.

There are a num­ber of inter­est­ing ways to explore this scent-rich data­base — by geo­graph­ic loca­tion, time peri­od, asso­ci­at­ed emo­tion, or aro­mat­ic qual­i­ty.

Of course, you could go straight to a smell source.

Cham­ber pot” returns 18,152 results, “cadav­er“266…

The squea­mish are advised to steer clear of vom­it (421 results) in favor of the Smell Explorer’s  plea­sur­able and abun­dant food-relat­ed entries — bread, choco­late, cof­fee, pome­gran­ate, pas­try, and wine, to name but a few.

Each scent is built as a col­lec­tion of cards or “nose wit­ness reports” with infor­ma­tion as to the title of the work cit­ed, its author or artist, year of cre­ation and char­ac­ter­i­za­tion (“good”, “rank”, “pecu­liar­ly unpleas­ant and per­ma­nent”…)

Even more ambi­tious­ly, Odeu­ropa aims to give 21st-cen­tu­ry noses an actu­al whiff of Europe’s olfac­to­ry her­itage by enlist­ing per­fumers and scent design­ers to recre­ate over a hun­dred his­toric odors and aro­mas.

Odeu­ropa has also cre­at­ed a down­load­able Olfac­to­ry Sto­ry­telling Toolk­it to give muse­um cura­tors ideas for inte­grat­ing cul­tur­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant odors into exhibits, a trend that is gain­ing trac­tion world­wide.

While every­one stands to ben­e­fit from the added olfac­to­ry dimen­sion of such exhibits, this ini­tia­tive is of par­tic­u­lar ser­vice to blind and visu­al­ly-impaired vis­i­tors. Exper­tise is no doubt required to get it right.

We’re remind­ed of satirist PJ O’Rourke early-80’s vis­it to the Exxon-spon­sored Uni­verse of Ener­gy Pavil­ion in Walt Dis­ney World’s EPCOT cen­ter, where ani­ma­tron­ic dinosaurs were “depict­ed with­out accu­ra­cy and much too close to your face:”

One of the few real nov­el­ties at Epcot is the use of smell to aggra­vate illu­sions. Of course, no one knows what dinosaurs smelled like, but Exxon has decid­ed they smelled bad.

Enter the Odeu­ropa Smell Explor­er here.

via Smith­son­ian

Relat­ed Con­tent

The Chem­istry Behind the Smell of Old Books: Explained with a Free Info­graph­ic

The Dis­gust­ing Food Muse­um Curates 80 of the World’s Most Repul­sive Dish­es: Mag­got-Infest­ed Cheese, Putrid Shark & More

Does Play­ing Music for Cheese Dur­ing the Aging Process Change Its Fla­vor? Researchers Find That Hip Hop Makes It Smelli­er, and Zeppelin’s “Stair­way to Heav­en” Makes It Milder

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A Determined Art Conservator Restores a Painting of the Doomed Party Girl Isabella de’ Medici: See the Before and After

Some peo­ple talk to plants.

The Carnegie Muse­um of Art’s chief con­ser­va­tor Ellen Bax­ter talks to the paint­ings she’s restor­ing.

“You have to …tell her she’s going to look love­ly,” she says, above, spread­ing var­nish over a 16th-cen­tu­ry por­trait of Isabel­la de’ Medici pri­or to start­ing the labo­ri­ous process of restor­ing years of wear and tear by inpaint­ing with tiny brush­es, aid­ed with pipettes of var­nish and sol­vent.

Isabel­la had been wait­ing a long time for such ten­der atten­tion, con­cealed beneath a 19th-cen­tu­ry over­paint­ing depict­ing a dain­tier fea­tured woman reput­ed to be Eleanor of Tole­do, wife of Cosi­mo I de’ Medici, the sec­ond Duke of Flo­rence.

Louise Lip­pin­cott, the CMA’s for­mer cura­tor of fine arts, ran across the work in the museum’s base­ment stor­age. Record named the artist as Bronzi­no, court painter to Cosi­mo I, but Lip­pin­cott, who thought the paint­ing “awful”, brought it to Ellen Bax­ter for a sec­ond opin­ion.

As Cristi­na Rou­valis writes in Carnegie Mag­a­zine, Bax­ter is a “rare mix of left- and right-brained tal­ent”, a painter with a bachelor’s degree in art his­to­ry, minors in chem­istry and physics, and a master’s degree in art con­ser­va­tion:

(She) looks at paint­ings dif­fer­ent­ly than oth­er peo­ple, too—not as flat, sta­t­ic objects, but as three-dimen­sion­al com­po­si­tions lay­ered like lasagna.

The minute she saw the oil paint­ing pur­port­ed to be of Eleanor of Tole­do… Bax­ter knew some­thing wasn’t quite right. The face was too bland­ly pret­ty, “like a Vic­to­ri­an cook­ie tin box lid,” she says. Upon exam­in­ing the back of the paint­ing, she identified—thanks to a trusty Google search—the stamp of Fran­cis Leed­ham, who worked at the Nation­al Por­trait Gallery in Lon­don in the mid-1800s as a “relin­er,” trans­fer­ring paint­ings from a wood pan­el to can­vas mount. The painstak­ing process involves scrap­ing and sand­ing away the pan­el from back to front and then glu­ing the paint­ed sur­face lay­er to a new can­vas.

An X‑Ray con­firmed her hunch, reveal­ing extra lay­ers of paint in this “lasagna”.

Care­ful strip­ping of dirty var­nish and Vic­to­ri­an paint in the areas of the por­trait’s face and hands began to reveal the much stronger fea­tures of the woman who posed for the artist. (The Carnegie is bank­ing on Bronzino’s stu­dent, Alessan­dro Allori, or some­one in his cir­cle.)

Lip­pin­cott was also busi­ly sleuthing, find­ing a Medici-com­mis­sioned copy of the paint­ing in Vien­na that matched the dress and hair exact­ly. Thus­ly did she learn that the sub­ject was Eleanor of Toledo’s daugh­ter, Isabel­la de’ Medici, the apple of her father’s eye and a noto­ri­ous, ulti­mate­ly ill-fat­ed par­ty girl. 

The His­to­ry Blog paints an irre­sistible por­trait of this mav­er­ick princess:

Cosi­mo gave her an excep­tion­al amount of free­dom for a noble­woman of her time. She ran her own house­hold, and after Eleanor’s death in 1562, Isabel­la ran her father’s too. She threw famous­ly rau­cous par­ties and spent lav­ish­ly. Her father always cov­ered her debts and pro­tect­ed her from scruti­ny even as rumors of her lovers and excess­es that would have doomed oth­er soci­ety women spread far and wide. Her favorite lover was said to be Troi­lo Orsi­ni, her hus­band Paolo’s cousin.

Things went down­hill fast for Isabel­la after her father’s death in 1574. Her broth­er Francesco was now the Grand Duke, and he had no inter­est in indulging his sister’s pec­ca­dil­loes. We don’t know what hap­pened exact­ly, but in 1576 Isabel­la died at the Medici Vil­la of Cer­re­to Gui­di near Empoli. The offi­cial sto­ry released by Francesco was that his 34-year-old sis­ter dropped dead sud­den­ly while wash­ing her hair. The unof­fi­cial sto­ry is that she was stran­gled by her hus­band out of revenge for her adul­tery and/or to clear the way for him to mar­ry his own mis­tress Vit­to­ria Acco­ram­boni.

Bax­ter not­ed that the urn Isabel­la holds was not part of the paint­ing to begin with, though nei­ther was it one of Leedham’s revi­sions. Its resem­blance to the urn that Mary Mag­da­lene is often depict­ed using as she annoints Jesus’ feet led her and Lip­pin­cott to spec­u­late that it was added at Isabella’s request, in an attempt to redeem her image.

“This is lit­er­al­ly the bad girl see­ing the light,” Lip­pin­cott told Rou­valis.

Despite her fond­ness for the sub­ject of the lib­er­at­ed paint­ing, and her con­sid­er­able skill as an artist, Bax­ter resist­ed the temp­ta­tion to embell­ish beyond what she found:

I’m not the artist. I’m the con­ser­va­tor. It’s my job to repair dam­ages and loss­es, to not put myself in the paint­ing.

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Art of Restor­ing a 400-Year-Old Paint­ing: A Five-Minute Primer

Watch a 17th-Cen­tu­ry Por­trait Mag­i­cal­ly Get Restored to Its Bril­liant Orig­i­nal Col­ors

A Restored Ver­meer Paint­ing Reveals a Por­trait of a Cupid Hid­den for Over 350 Years

How an Art Con­ser­va­tor Com­plete­ly Restores a Dam­aged Paint­ing: A Short, Med­i­ta­tive Doc­u­men­tary

Watch the Renais­sance Paint­ing, The Bat­tle of San Romano, Get Brought Beau­ti­ful­ly to Life in a Hand-Paint­ed Ani­ma­tion

Free Course: An Intro­duc­tion to the Art of the Ital­ian Renais­sance

– Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo and Cre­ative, Not Famous Activ­i­ty Book. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

A New Album of Goth-Folk Songs Inspired by the Life of Marie Curie

After sev­er­al years of writ­ing and per­form­ing songs influ­enced by such sources as authors Edward Gorey and Ray­mond Chan­dler, film­mak­er Tim Bur­ton, and mur­der bal­lads in the Amer­i­can folk tra­di­tion, Ellia Bisker and Jef­frey Mor­ris, known col­lec­tive­ly as Charm­ing Dis­as­ter, began cast­ing around for a sin­gle, exist­ing nar­ra­tive that could sus­tain an album’s worth of orig­i­nal tunes.

An encounter with Lau­ren Red­nis­s’s graph­ic nov­el Radioac­tive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fall­out spurred them to look more deeply at the Nobel Prize-win­ning sci­en­tist and her pio­neer­ing dis­cov­er­ies.

The result is Our Lady of Radi­um, a nine song explo­ration of Curie’s life and work.

The crowd­fund­ed album, record­ed dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, is so exhaus­tive­ly researched that the accom­pa­ny­ing illus­trat­ed book­let includes a bib­li­og­ra­phy with titles rang­ing from David I. Harvie’s tech­ni­cal­ly dense Dead­ly Sun­shine: The His­to­ry and Fatal Lega­cy of Radi­um to Deb­o­rah Blum’s The Poi­son­er’s Hand­book, described by The New York Observ­er as “a vicious, page-turn­ing sto­ry that reads more like Ray­mond Chan­dler than Madame Curie.”

A chap­ter in the The Poi­son­er’s Hand­book intro­duced Bisker and Mor­ris to the Radi­um Girls, young work­ers whose pro­longed expo­sure to radi­um-based paint in ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry clock fac­to­ries had hor­rif­ic con­se­quences.

In La Porte v. Unit­ed States Radi­um Cor­po­ra­tion (1935) pros­e­cu­tors detailed the con­di­tions under which the lumi­nous dials of inex­pen­sive watch faces were pro­duced:

Each girl pro­cured a tray con­tain­ing twen­ty-four watch dials and the mate­r­i­al to be used to paint the numer­als upon them so that they would appear lumi­nous. The mate­r­i­al was a pow­der, of about the con­sis­ten­cy of cos­met­ic pow­der, and con­sist­ed of phos­pho­res­cent zinc sul­phide mixed with radi­um sulphate…The pow­der was poured from the vial into a small porce­lain cru­cible, about the size of a thim­ble. A quan­ti­ty of gum ara­bic, as an adhe­sive, and a thin­ner of water were then added, and this was stirred with a small glass rod until a paint­like sub­stance result­ed. In the course of a work­ing week each girl paint­ed the dials con­tained on twen­ty-two to forty-four such trays, depend­ing upon the speed with which she worked, and used a vial of pow­der for each tray. When the paint-like sub­stance was pro­duced a girl would employ it in paint­ing the fig­ures on a watch dial. There were four­teen numer­als, the fig­ure six being omit­ted. In the paint­ing each girl used a very fine brush of camel’s hair con­tain­ing about thir­ty hairs. In order to obtain the fine lines which the work required, a girl would place the bris­tles in her mouth, and by the action of her tongue and lips bring the bris­tles to a fine point. The brush was then dipped into the paint, the fig­ures paint­ed upon the dial until more paint was required or until the paint on the brush dried and hard­ened, when the brush was dipped into a small cru­cible of water. This water remained in the cru­cible with­out change for a day or per­haps two days. The brush would then be repoint­ed in the mouth and dipped into the paint or even repoint­ed in such man­ner after being dipped into the paint itself, in a con­tin­u­ous process.

The band found them­selves haunt­ed by the Radi­um Girls’ sto­ry:

Part­ly it’s that it seemed like a real­ly good job — it was clean work, it was less phys­i­cal­ly tax­ing and paid bet­ter than fac­to­ry or mill jobs, the work­ing envi­ron­ment was nice — and the work­ers were all young women. They were excit­ed about this sweet gig, and then it betrayed them, poi­son­ing them and cut­ting their lives short in a hor­ri­ble way. 

There were all these details we learned that we could­n’t stop think­ing about. Like the fact that radi­um gets tak­en up by bone, which then starts to dis­in­te­grate because radi­um isn’t as hard as cal­ci­um. The Radi­um Girls’ jaw bones were crum­bling away, because they (were instruct­ed) to use their lips to point the brush­es when paint­ing watch faces with radi­um-based paint. 

The radi­um they absorbed was irra­di­at­ing them from inside, from with­in their own bones. 

Radi­um decays into radon, and it was even­tu­al­ly dis­cov­ered that the radi­um girls were exhal­ing radon gas. They could expose a pho­to­graph­ic plate by breath­ing on it. Those images—the bones and the breath—stuck with us in par­tic­u­lar.

Fel­low musi­cian, Omer Gal, of the “the­atri­cal freak folk musi­cal menagerie” Cook­ie Tongue, height­ens the sense of dread in his chill­ing stop-motion ani­ma­tion for Our Lady of Radi­um’s first music video, above. There’s no ques­tion that a trag­ic fate awaits the crum­bling, uncom­pre­hend­ing lit­tle work­er.

Before their phys­i­cal symp­toms start­ed to man­i­fest, the Radi­um Girls believed what they had been told — that the radi­um-based paint they used on the time­pieces’ faces and hands posed no threat to their well being.

Com­pound­ing the prob­lem, the paint’s glow-in-the-dark prop­er­ties proved irre­sistible to high-spir­it­ed teens, as the niece of Mar­garet “Peg” Looney — 17 when she start­ed work at the Illi­nois Radi­um Dial Com­pa­ny (now a Super­fund Site) — recount­ed to NPR:

I can remem­ber my fam­i­ly talk­ing about my aunt bring­ing home the lit­tle vials (of radi­um paint.) They would go into their bed­room with the lights off and paint their fin­ger­nails, their eye­lids, their lips and then they’d laugh at each oth­er because they glowed in the dark.

Looney died at 24, hav­ing suf­fered from ane­mia, debil­i­tat­ing hip pain, and the loss of teeth and bits of her jaw. Although her fam­i­ly har­bored sus­pi­cions as to the cause of her bewil­der­ing decline, no attor­ney would take their case. They lat­er learned that the Illi­nois Radi­um Dial Com­pa­ny had arranged for med­ical tests to be per­formed on work­ers, with­out truth­ful­ly advis­ing them of the results.

Even­tu­al­ly, the mount­ing death toll made the con­nec­tion between work­ers’ health and the work­place impos­si­ble to ignore. Law­suits such as La Porte v. Unit­ed States Radi­um Cor­po­ra­tion led to improved indus­tri­al safe­ty reg­u­la­tions and oth­er labor reforms.

Too late, Charm­ing Dis­as­ter notes, for the Radi­um Girls them­selves:

(Our song) Radi­um Girls is ded­i­cat­ed to the young women who were unwit­ting­ly poi­soned by their work and who were ignored and maligned in seek­ing jus­tice. Their plight led to laws and safe­guards that even­tu­al­ly became the occu­pa­tion­al safe­ty pro­tec­tions we have today. Of course that is still a bat­tle that’s being fought, but it start­ed with them. We want­ed to pay trib­ute to these young women, hon­or their mem­o­ry, and give them a voice.  

Pre­order Charm­ing Disaster’s Our Lady of Radi­um here.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Marie Curie’s Research Papers Are Still Radioac­tive 100+ Years Lat­er

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to the Life & Work of Marie Curie, the First Female Nobel Lau­re­ate

Marie Curie Became the First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize, the First Per­son to Win Twice, and the Only Per­son in His­to­ry to Win in Two Dif­fer­ent Sci­ences

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

Take a Trip to the LSD Museum, the Largest Collection of “Blotter Art” in the World

When Ken Kesey and his Mer­ry Pranksters kicked off Haight-Ash­bury’s coun­ter­cul­ture in the 1960s, LSD was the key ingre­di­ent in their potent mix of drugs, the Hell’s Angels, the Beat poets, and their local band The War­locks (soon to become The Grate­ful Dead). Kesey admin­is­tered the drug in “Acid Tests” to find out who could han­dle it (and who couldn’t) after he stole the sub­stance from Army doc­tors, who them­selves admin­is­tered it as part of the CIA’s MKUl­tra exper­i­ments. Not long after­ward, Grate­ful Dead sound­man Owsley “Bear” Stan­ley syn­the­sized “the purest form of LSD ever to hit the street,” writes Rolling Stone, and became the country’s biggest sup­pli­er, the “king of acid.”

What­ev­er uses it might have had in psy­chi­atric set­tings — and there were many known at the time — LSD was made ille­gal in 1968 by the U.S. gov­ern­ment, repress­ing what the gov­ern­ment had itself helped bring into being. But it has since returned with new­found respectabil­i­ty. “Once dis­missed as the dan­ger­ous dal­liances of the coun­ter­cul­ture,” writes Nature, psy­che­del­ic drugs are “gain­ing main­stream accep­tance” in clin­i­cal treat­ment. Psilo­cy­bin, MDMA, and LSD “have been steadi­ly mak­ing their way back into the lab,” notes Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can. “Sci­en­tists are redis­cov­er­ing what many see as the sub­stances’ aston­ish­ing ther­a­peu­tic poten­tial.”

None of this comes as news to San Fran­cis­co fix­ture Mark McCloud. “In the same moral­is­tic man­ner many San Fran­cis­cans pon­tif­i­cate on the health ben­e­fits of mar­i­jua­na,” writes Gre­go­ry Thomas at Mis­sion Local, “McCloud and his friends tout the mer­its of acid.” Next to cur­ing “anx­i­ety, depres­sion and ‘mar­i­tal prob­lems,’” it is also an impor­tant source  of folk art, says McCloud, the own­er and sole pro­pri­etor of the infor­mal­ly-named “LSD Muse­um” housed in his three-sto­ry Vic­to­ri­an home in San Fran­cis­co.

His mis­sion in cre­at­ing and main­tain­ing the muse­um for­mal­ly called the Insti­tute of Ille­gal Images, he says, is to “pre­serve a ‘skele­tal’ rem­nant of San Francisco’s drug-induced 1960s lega­cy, ‘so maybe our chil­dren can bet­ter under­stand us.’”

Specif­i­cal­ly, as Cul­ture Trip explains, McCloud pre­serves the art on sheets of blot­ter acid. As is clear from the many pop cul­tur­al ref­er­ences on blot­ter art — like Beav­is and Butthead and tech­no artist Plas­tik­man (who named his debut album Sheet One) — the 60s blot­ter acid lega­cy extend­ed far beyond its founders’ vision in under­ground scenes through­out the 70s, 80s, 90s, and oughts.

Also known as the Blot­ter Barn or the Insti­tute of Ille­gal Images, McCloud’s house is locat­ed on 20th Street between Mis­sion and Capp. The house pre­serves over 33,000 sheets of LSD blot­ter, treat­ing them like tiny lit­tle works of art. Most of the sheets are framed and hang­ing on McCloud’s walls, dec­o­rat­ing the home with vibrant col­ors and pat­terns, and the rest are kept safe in binders. The house also fea­tures a per­fo­ra­tion board, allow­ing McCloud to turn any work of art sized 7.5 by 7.5 inch­es into 900 pieces, as is typ­i­cal for LSD blot­ter sheets.

McCloud has faced intense scruti­ny from the FBI, and on a cou­ple of occa­sions — in 1992 and again in 2001 — arrest and tri­al by “not very sym­pa­thet­ic” juries, who nonethe­less acquit­ted him both times. Despite the fact that he has a larg­er col­lec­tion of blot­ter acid sheets than the DEA, he and his muse­um have with­stood pros­e­cu­tion and attempts to shut them down, since all the sheets in his pos­ses­sion have either nev­er been dipped in LSD or have become chem­i­cal­ly inac­tive over time. (The museum’s web­site explains the ori­gins of “blot­ter” paper as a means of prepar­ing LSD dos­es after the drug was crim­i­nal­ized in Cal­i­for­nia in 1966.)

“What fas­ci­nates me about blot­ter is what fas­ci­nates me about all art. It changes your mind,” says McCloud in the Wired video at the top of the post. None of his muse­um’s art­work will change your mind in quite the way it was intend­ed, but the mere asso­ci­a­tion with hal­lu­cino­genic expe­ri­ences is enough to inspire the artists “to build the myr­i­ad of sub­ject mat­ter appear­ing on the blot­ters,” Atlas Obscu­ra writes, “rang­ing from the spir­i­tu­al (Hin­du gods, lotus flow­ers) to whim­si­cal (car­toon char­ac­ters), as well as cul­tur­al com­men­tary (Gor­bachev) and the just plain dement­ed (Ozzy Osbourne).”

The muse­um does not keep reg­u­lar hours and was only open by appoint­ment before COVID-19. These days, it’s prob­a­bly best to make a vir­tu­al vis­it at blotterbarn.com, where you’ll find dozens of images of acid blot­ter paper like those above and learn much more about the his­to­ry and cul­ture of LSD dur­ing long years of pro­hi­bi­tion — a con­di­tion that seems poised to final­ly end as gov­ern­ments give up the waste­ful, pun­ish­ing War on Drugs and allow sci­en­tists and psy­cho­nauts to study and explore altered states of con­scious­ness again.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Artist Draws 9 Por­traits While on LSD: Inside the 1950s Exper­i­ments to Turn LSD into a “Cre­ativ­i­ty Pill”

When Michel Fou­cault Tripped on Acid in Death Val­ley and Called It “The Great­est Expe­ri­ence of My Life” (1975)

New LSD Research Pro­vides the First Images of the Brain on Acid, and Hints at Its Poten­tial to Pro­mote Cre­ativ­i­ty

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

The Color That May Have Killed Napoleon: Scheele’s Green

“Either the wall­pa­per goes, or I do.” —Oscar Wilde

Look­ing to repel bed bugs and rats?

Dec­o­rate your bed­room à la Napoleon’s final home on the damp island of Saint Hele­na.

Those in a posi­tion to know sug­gest that ver­min shy away from yel­low­ish-greens such as that favored by the Emper­or because they “resem­ble areas of intense light­ing.”

We’d like to offer an alter­nate the­o­ry.

Could it be that the crit­ters’ ances­tors passed down a cel­lu­lar mem­o­ry of the per­ils of arsenic?

Napoleon, like thou­sands of oth­ers, was smit­ten with a hue known as Scheele’s Green, named for Carl Wil­helm Scheele, the Ger­man-Swedish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal chemist who dis­cov­ered oxy­gen, chlo­rine, and unfor­tu­nate­ly, a gor­geous, tox­ic green pig­ment that’s also a cupric hydro­gen arsen­ite.

Scheele’s Green, aka Schloss Green, was cheap and easy to pro­duce, and quick­ly replaced the less vivid cop­per car­bon­ate based green dyes that had been in use pri­or to the mid 1770s.

The col­or was an imme­di­ate hit when it made its appear­ance, show­ing up in arti­fi­cial flow­ers, can­dles, toys, fash­ion­able ladies’ cloth­ing, soap, beau­ty prod­ucts, con­fec­tions, and wall­pa­per.

A month before Napoleon died, he includ­ed the fol­low­ing phrase in his will: My death is pre­ma­ture. I have been assas­si­nat­ed by the Eng­lish oli­gop­oly and their hired mur­der­er…”

His exit at 51 was indeed untime­ly, but per­haps the wall­pa­per, and not the Eng­lish oli­gop­oly, is the greater cul­prit, espe­cial­ly if it was hung with arsenic-laced paste, to fur­ther deter rats.

When Scheele’s Green wall­pa­per, like the striped pat­tern in Napoleon’s bath­room, became damp or moldy, the pig­ment in it metab­o­lized, releas­ing poi­so­nous arsenic-laden vapors.

Napoleon’s First Valet Louis-Joseph Marc­hand recalled the “child­ish joy” with which the emper­or jumped into the tub where he rel­ished soak­ing for long spells:

The bath­tub was a tremen­dous oak chest lined with lead. It required an excep­tion­al quan­ti­ty of water, and one had to go a half mile away and trans­port it in a bar­rel.

Baths also fig­ured in Sec­ond Valet Louis Éti­enne Saint-Denis’ rec­ol­lec­tions of his master’s ill­ness:

His reme­dies con­sist­ed only of warm nap­kins applied to his side, to baths, which he took fre­quent­ly, and to a diet which he observed from time to time.

Saint-Denis’s recall seems to have had some lacu­nae. Accord­ing to a post in con­junc­tion with the Amer­i­can Muse­um of Nat­ur­al History’s Pow­er of Poi­son exhib­it:

In Napoleon’s case, arsenic was like­ly just one of many com­pounds tax­ing an already trou­bled sys­tem. In the course of treat­ments for a vari­ety of symptoms—swollen legs, abdom­i­nal pain, jaun­dice, vom­it­ing, weakness—Napoleon was sub­ject­ed to a smor­gas­bord of oth­er tox­ic sub­stances. He was said to con­sume large amounts of a sweet apri­cot-based drink con­tain­ing hydro­cyan­ic acid. He had been giv­en tarter emet­ic, an anti­mon­al com­pound, by a Cor­si­can doc­tor. (Like arsenic, anti­mo­ny would also help explain the pre­served state of his body at exhuma­tion.) Two days before his death, his British doc­tors gave him a dose of calomel, or mer­curous chlo­ride, after which he col­lapsed into a stu­por and nev­er recov­ered. 

As Napoleon was vom­it­ing a black­ish liq­uid and expir­ing, fac­to­ry and gar­ment work­ers who han­dled Scheele’s Green dye and its close cousin, Paris Green, were suf­fer­ing untold mor­ti­fi­ca­tions of the flesh, from hideous lesions, ulcers and extreme gas­tric dis­tress to heart dis­ease and can­cer.

Fash­ion-first women who spent the day corset­ed in volu­mi­nous green dress­es were keel­ing over from skin-to-arsenic con­tact. Their seam­stress­es’ green fin­gers were in wretched con­di­tion.

In 2008, an Ital­ian team test­ed strands of Napoleon’s hair from four points in his life—childhood, exile, his death, and the day there­after. They deter­mined that all the sam­ples con­tained rough­ly 100 times the arsenic lev­els of con­tem­po­rary peo­ple in a con­trol group.

Napoleon’s son and wife, Empress Josephine, also had notice­ably ele­vat­ed arsenic lev­els.

Had we been alive and liv­ing in Europe back then, ours like­ly would have been too.

All that green!

But what about the wall­pa­per?

A scrap pur­port­ed­ly from the din­ing room, where Napoleon was relo­cat­ed short­ly before death, was found by a woman in Nor­folk, Eng­land, past­ed into a fam­i­ly scrap­book above the hand­writ­ten cap­tion, This small piece of paper was tak­en off the wall of the room in which the spir­it of Napoleon returned to God who gave it.

In 1980, she con­tact­ed chemist David Jones, whom she had recent­ly heard on BBC Radio dis­cussing vaporous bio­chem­istry and Vic­to­ri­an wall­pa­per. She agreed to let him test the scrap using non-destruc­tive x‑ray flu­o­res­cence spec­troscopy. The result?

.12 grams of arsenic per square meter. (Wall­pa­pers con­tain­ing 0.6 to 0.015 grams per square meter were deter­mined to be haz­ardous.)

Dr. Jones described watch­ing the arsenic lev­els peak­ing on the lab’s print out as “a crazy, won­der­ful moment.” He reit­er­at­ed that the house in which Napoleon was impris­oned was “noto­ri­ous­ly damp,” mak­ing it easy for a 19th cen­tu­ry fan to peel off a sou­venir in “an inspired act of van­dal­ism.”

Death by wall­pa­per and oth­er envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors is def­i­nite­ly less cloak and dag­ger than assas­si­na­tion by the Eng­lish oli­gop­oly, hired mur­der­er, and oth­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries that had thrived on the pres­ence of arsenic in sam­ples of Napoleon’s hair.

As Dr. Jones recalled:

…sev­er­al his­to­ri­ans were upset by my claim that it was all an acci­dent of decor…Napoleon him­self feared he was dying of stom­ach can­cer, the dis­ease which had killed his father; and indeed his autop­sy revealed that his stom­ach was very dam­aged. It had at least one big ulcer…My feel­ing is that Napoleon would have died in any case. His arseni­cal wall­pa­per might mere­ly have has­tened the event by a day or so. Mur­der con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists will have to find new evi­dence! 

We can’t resist men­tion­ing that when the emper­or was exhumed and shipped back to France, 19 years after his death, his corpse showed lit­tle or no decom­po­si­tion.

Green con­tin­ues to be a nox­ious col­or when humans attempt to repro­duce it in the phys­i­cal realm. As Alice Rawthorn observed The New York Times:

The cru­el truth is that most forms of the col­or green, the most pow­er­ful sym­bol of sus­tain­able design, aren’t eco­log­i­cal­ly respon­si­ble, and can be dam­ag­ing to the envi­ron­ment.

Take a deep­er dive into Napoleon’s wall­pa­per with an edu­ca­tion­al pack­et for edu­ca­tors pre­pared by chemist David Jones and Hen­drik Ball.

via Messy Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Why Is Napoleon’s Hand Always in His Waist­coat?: The Ori­gins of This Dis­tinc­tive Pose Explained

Napoleon’s Eng­lish Lessons: How the Mil­i­tary Leader Stud­ied Eng­lish to Escape the Bore­dom of Life in Exile

Napoleon’s Dis­as­trous Inva­sion of Rus­sia Detailed in an 1869 Data Visu­al­iza­tion: It’s Been Called “the Best Sta­tis­ti­cal Graph­ic Ever Drawn”

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. She most recent­ly appeared as a French Cana­di­an bear who trav­els to New York City in search of food and mean­ing in Greg Kotis’ short film, L’Ourse.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

YInMn Blue, the First Shade of Blue Discovered in 200 Years, Is Now Available for Artists

Pho­to via Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty

“Col­or is part of a spec­trum, so you can’t dis­cov­er a col­or,” says Pro­fes­sor Mas Sub­ra­man­ian, a sol­id-state chemist at Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty. “You can only dis­cov­er a mate­r­i­al that is a par­tic­u­lar color”—or, more pre­cise­ly, a mate­r­i­al that reflects light in such a way that we per­ceive it as a col­or. Sci­en­tif­ic mod­esty aside, Sub­ra­man­ian actu­al­ly has been cred­it­ed with dis­cov­er­ing a color—the first inor­gan­ic shade of blue in 200 years.

Named “YIn­Mn blue” —and affec­tion­ate­ly called “Mas­Blue” at Ore­gon State—the pig­men­t’s unwieldy name derives from its chem­i­cal make­up of yttri­um, indi­um, and man­ganese oxides, which togeth­er “absorbed red and green wave­lengths and reflect­ed blue wave­lengths in such a way that it came off look­ing a very bright blue,” Gabriel Rosen­berg notes at NPR. It is a blue, in fact, nev­er before seen, since it is not a nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring pig­ment, but one lit­er­al­ly cooked in a lab­o­ra­to­ry, and by acci­dent at that.

The dis­cov­ery, if we can use the word, should just­ly be cred­it­ed to Subramanian’s grad stu­dent Andrew E. Smith who, dur­ing a 2009 attempt to “man­u­fac­ture new mate­ri­als that could be used in elec­tron­ics,” heat­ed the par­tic­u­lar mix of chem­i­cals to over 2000 degrees Fahren­heit. Smith noticed “it had turned a sur­pris­ing, bright blue col­or [and] Sub­ra­man­ian knew imme­di­ate­ly it was a big deal.” Why? Because the col­or blue is a big deal.

In an impor­tant sense, col­or is some­thing humans dis­cov­ered over long peri­ods of time in which we learned to see the world in shades and hues our ances­tors could not per­ceive. “Some sci­en­tists believe that the ear­li­est humans were actu­al­ly col­or­blind,” Emma Tag­gart writes at My Mod­ern Met, “and could only rec­og­nize black, white, red, and only lat­er yel­low and green.” Blue, that is to say, didn’t exist for ear­ly humans. “With no con­cept of the col­or blue,” Tag­gart writes, “they sim­ply had no words to describe it. This is even reflect­ed in ancient lit­er­a­ture, such as Homer’s Odyssey,” with its “wine-dark sea.”

Pho­to via Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty

Sea and sky only begin to assume their cur­rent col­ors some 6,000 years ago when ancient Egyp­tians began to pro­duce blue pig­ment. The first known col­or to be syn­thet­i­cal­ly pro­duced is thus called Egypt­ian blue, cre­at­ed using “ground lime­stone mixed with sand and a cop­per-con­tain­ing min­er­al, such as azu­rite or mala­chite.” Blue holds a spe­cial place in our col­or lex­i­cog­ra­phy. It is the last col­or word that devel­ops across cul­tures and one of the most dif­fi­cult col­ors to man­u­fac­ture. “Peo­ple have been look­ing for a good, durable blue col­or for a cou­ple of cen­turies,” Sub­ra­man­ian told NPR.

And so, YIn­Mn blue has become a sen­sa­tion among indus­tri­al man­u­fac­tur­ers and artists. Patent­ed in 2012 by OSU, it received approval for indus­tri­al use in 2017. That same year, Aus­tralian paint sup­pli­er Derivan released it as an acrylic paint called “Ore­gon Blue.” It has tak­en a few more years for the U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to come around, but they’ve final­ly approved Yln­Mn blue for com­mer­cial use, “mak­ing it avail­able to all,” Isis Davis-Marks writes at Smith­son­ian. “Now the authen­ti­cat­ed pig­ment is avail­able for sale in paint retail­ers like Gold­en in the US.”

Pho­to via Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty

The new blue solves a num­ber of prob­lems with oth­er blue pig­ments. It is non­tox­ic and not prone to fad­ing, since it “reflects heat and absorbs UV radi­a­tion.” YIn­Mn blue is “extreme­ly sta­ble, a prop­er­ty long sought in a blue pig­ment,” says Sub­ra­man­ian. It also fills “a gap in the range of col­ors,” says art sup­ply man­u­fac­tur­er Georg Kre­mer, adding, “The pure­ness of YIn­Blue is real­ly per­fect.”

Since their first, acci­den­tal col­or dis­cov­ery, “Sub­ra­man­ian and his team have expand­ed their research and have made a range of new pig­ments to include almost every col­or, from bright oranges to shades of pur­ple, turquoise and green,” notes the Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ty Depart­ment of Chem­istry. None have yet had the impact of the new blue. Learn much more about the unique chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of YIn­Mn blue here and see Pro­fes­sor Sub­ra­man­ian dis­cuss its dis­cov­ery in his TED talk fur­ther up.

via Hyper­al­ler­gic

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Behold One of the Ear­li­est Known Col­or Charts: The Table of Phys­i­o­log­i­cal Col­ors (1686)

A 900-Page Pre-Pan­tone Guide to Col­or from 1692: A Com­plete Dig­i­tal Scan

Werner’s Nomen­cla­ture of Colour, the 19th-Cen­tu­ry “Col­or Dic­tio­nary” Used by Charles Dar­win (1814)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Watch the Pilot of Breaking Bad with a Chemistry Professor: How Sound Was the Science?

Even the grit­ti­est, hard­est-hit­ting TV dra­mas require will­ing sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief to enjoy. This is espe­cial­ly true if you, the view­er, hap­pen to be an expert on such sub­jects as emer­gency med­i­cine, police pro­ce­dures, crim­i­nal law, FBI pro­fil­ing, crime scene inves­ti­ga­tion, etcetera. Those of us who don’t know any­thing about these fields may have an eas­i­er time of it, pro­vid­ed the writ­ers do their dili­gence and make the actors sound con­vinc­ing. I nev­er much ques­tioned the sci­ence of Break­ing Bad, for exam­ple. Sure­ly, the hit show accu­rate­ly depict­ed how a des­per­ate high school chem­istry teacher would build a meth lab in the desert? How should I know oth­er­wise?

I might watch the show with a chemist, for one thing, like Pro­fes­sor Don­na Nel­son or the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nottingham’s Sir Mar­tyn Poli­akoff, who had him­self refused to watch Break­ing Bad until “one day when I’m old.” That day has come at last: he final­ly sat down with the pilot and dis­cussed his impres­sions on YouTube chan­nel Peri­od­ic Videos. Poli­akoff approached the exper­i­ment with almost no pre­con­cep­tions. He knew the show was about a chem­istry teacher who made “some sort of drug, I didn’t know which one,” and that “there were a lot of episodes.”

He also knew that “at some point, HF, hydro­gen flu­o­ride, played a part.” But before the chem­istry cri­tique begins, Poli­akoff notices that Wal­ter White’s pants float­ing through the desert air in the pilot’s icon­ic open­ing are a phys­i­cal impos­si­bil­i­ty giv­en their orig­i­na­tion. Bum­mer. He loved the open­ing sequence spelling out the show’s title with ele­ments from the peri­od­ic table, and even imag­ined how his own name (includ­ing “Sir”) might be spelled the same way.

As you might expect, Poli­akoff has some nits to pick with the les­son White gives his stu­dents in the first few min­utes. For one, White—who shows him­self to be very safe­ty-con­scious, if not risk-averse, lat­er in the episode—wears no safe­ty gear while spray­ing chem­i­cals into an open flame. The direc­tor can be for­giv­en for not want­i­ng to obscure Bryan Cranston’s expres­sive face in this cru­cial scene of char­ac­ter devel­op­ment. But what of the les­son itself? Over­all, he says, it’s “quite good.” He likes White’s def­i­n­i­tion of chem­istry as “the study of change,” but thinks it should more ful­ly be “the way that mat­ter changes.”

The dis­cus­sion prompts Poli­akoff to reflect that no one’s ever asked him to define chem­istry before. (When asked to define “inor­gan­ic chem­istry” in high school, his son answered, “it’s what my dad does.”) We quick­ly begin to see the ben­e­fits of watch­ing a well-craft­ed show like Break­ing Bad with an expert. The dra­ma of the show, and its unusu­al approach to what we nor­mal­ly con­sid­er a dry sub­ject, draws out our chemist’s enthu­si­asm and helps us make con­nec­tions we might not oth­er­wise make, such as Wal­ter White’s resem­blance to well-known British sci­en­tist and sci­ence com­mu­ni­ca­tor Robert Win­ston.

Hear­ing Poli­akoff dis­cuss the Break­ing Bad pilot turns out to be so enter­tain­ing that TV exec­u­tives should take note—this could become a new, easy-to-pro­duce genre when we final­ly run out of shows, pro­vid­ed there are enough emi­nent pro­fes­sors will­ing to offer com­men­tary on hit series of the past. But as we can sur­mise from Pro­fes­sor Poliakoff’s gen­er­al lack of inter­est in TV, and from his thriv­ing career as a chem­istry pro­fes­sor, he’s prob­a­bly busy. He’s already done more than enough to make chem­istry inter­est­ing to us lay­folk by con­tribut­ing to Peri­od­ic Videos for over a decade now.

Fur­ther up, see a fun demon­stra­tion of explod­ing hydro­gen bub­bles (“the title pret­ty much says it”). Just above and below, see Pro­fes­sor Poli­akoff enlight­en us on the prop­er­ties of ele­ments 35 and 56, Bromine and Bar­i­um, and watch Peri­od­ic Videos full series on the peri­od­ic table here.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

The Sci­ence of Break­ing Bad: Pro­fes­sor Don­na Nel­son Explains How the Show Gets it Right

The Break­ing Bad Theme Played with Meth Lab Equip­ment

How Break­ing Bad Craft­ed the Per­fect TV Pilot: A Video Essay

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Interactive Periodic Table of Elements Shows How the Elements Get Used in Making Everyday Things

“The dis­cov­ery of the peri­od­ic sys­tem for clas­si­fy­ing the ele­ments rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of a num­ber of sci­en­tif­ic devel­op­ments, rather than a sud­den brain­storm on the part of one indi­vid­ual,” writes Eric Scer­ri at Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can. And yet, while sev­er­al sci­en­tists over the course of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry invent­ed sys­tems for clas­si­fy­ing the ele­ments, “ask most chemists who dis­cov­ered the peri­od­ic table and you will almost cer­tain­ly get the answer Dmitri Mendeleev,” notes the Roy­al Soci­ety of Chem­istry.  That’s for good rea­son, since the basis of the table we know today came from the design Mendeleev cre­at­ed in 1869.

This past March saw the 150th anniver­sary of his achieve­ment, which has hard­ly remained a his­tor­i­cal arti­fact. Every gen­er­a­tion has its table. Mendeleev’s rudi­men­ta­ry begin­nings have tak­en on new shape and have been sup­ple­ment­ed with anno­ta­tions and illus­tra­tions in eye-catch­ing col­or in text­books and on class­room walls around the world. It’s only fit­ting, then, that the 21st cen­tu­ry has its dig­i­tal ver­sions of the table, like the inter­ac­tive design by Boe­ing soft­ware engi­neer Kei­th Enevold­sen.

The Inter­ac­tive Peri­od­ic Table of the Ele­ments, in Pic­tures and Words, adapts itself to dif­fer­ent learn­ing styles while pro­vid­ing stu­dents of chem­istry, of all ages and lev­els, instant facts about each of the ele­ments it illus­trates. Click on Pal­la­di­um, for exam­ple, and you’ll learn about its role in pol­lu­tion con­trol. The non-cor­rod­ing hard met­al absorbs hydro­gen and is used in lab­ware, elec­tric con­tacts, and den­tistry. Rhe­ni­um, we learn, is a dense met­al used in rock­et engines, heater coils, and elec­tric con­tacts, among oth­er things.

Oth­er “seem­ing­ly obscure” ele­ments we may nev­er have heard of, like Gal­li­um and Tan­ta­lum, influ­ence our dai­ly lives “quite a bit, it turns out,” as Lacy Cooke writes at Inhab­it, serv­ing as com­po­nents in LEDs and mobile phones. We gath­er such facts at a glance, as well as the oth­er end­less­ly use­ful func­tions of the table. Enevold­sen fur­ther adapts his designs for home or class­room use with print­able PDFs, includ­ing a ver­sion with only words and a sim­pli­fied table with only pic­tures. Begin­ning stu­dents may be thrilled to find print-your-own ele­ments cards, as well as oth­er peri­od­ic-table-relat­ed visu­al aids like Atom­ic Orbitals, a col­or-cod­ed chart that “shows what atoms look like.”

The group­ings on the peri­od­ic chart so famil­iar to us today came about when Mendeleev “real­ized that, by putting [the ele­ments] in order of increas­ing atom­ic weight, cer­tain types of ele­ment reg­u­lar­ly occurred,” the Roy­al Soci­ety points out. But his “real genius… was to leave gaps for undis­cov­ered ele­ments. He even pre­dict­ed the prop­er­ties of five of these ele­ments and their com­pounds.” Enevoldsen’s inter­ac­tive table makes for an easy for­mat to update. When new ele­ments are named, he adds them to his charts imme­di­ate­ly.

Peri­od­ic tables like Enevoldsen’s may only bare­ly resem­ble Mendeleev’s spare orig­i­nal, but the Russ­ian chemist’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem still pro­vides the orga­niz­ing prin­ci­ples by which we under­stand the fun­da­men­tal ele­ments that make up the mate­r­i­al world. View and down­load PDF copies of all of these high­ly infor­ma­tive, and up-to-date peri­od­ic tables here. Or pur­chase posters/prints here.

via Inhab­it

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Map of Chem­istry: New Ani­ma­tion Sum­ma­rizes the Entire Field of Chem­istry in 12 Min­utes

A Peri­od­ic Table Visu­al­iz­ing the Year & Coun­try in Which Each Ele­ment Was Dis­cov­ered

The Peri­od­ic Table of Ele­ments Pre­sent­ed as Inter­ac­tive Haikus

The Peri­od­ic Table of Endan­gered Ele­ments: Visu­al­iz­ing the Chem­i­cal Ele­ments That Could Van­ish Before You Know It

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

More in this category... »
Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.