The Periodic Table Table: all the elements, in carved wooden glory

Wolfram co-founder Theodore Gray, whose books, puzzles, posters, vaults (!), card decks, and apps about the Periodic Table of Elements we've featured on Boing Boing many times, has a happy obsession: a Periodic Table Table. Beautiful, hand-carved, wood. More about it in this fun video right here. The table isn't new (there's a well-worn page on Gray's website all about it), but the fun video is. (thanks, @zamieroskik!)


  1. He even has some of the heavier elements like Berkelium and Californium (as far as I can tell from the website) which puts this table firmly into the ‘awesome’ category.

  2. Sorry, but to be an actual, certified periodic table table, the elements (if even a token amount) have to actually be inside the table.  If the element is valuable, secure the room it’s set up in.  If the element is hazardous, secure its packaging. otherwise, this is just a elemental collection, not a table table.

    Assessment: 2/10. Would not bang table.

    1. Sorry, but to be an actual, certified periodic table table, the elements (if even a token amount) have to actually be inside the table.

      Dude. Um… RTFA or watch the video before commenting? That’s, uh… that’s exactly what this is.

      1. Well I did WTFV.  Look, I wish it were a table table just like everyone else, but just from the video, you see he doesn’t have Au, Ag, Ra, Hg contained inside. This is a table, nothing more.

        1. I wasn’t aware of the “official rules” until now. Thanks. I’d still say it’s more than just a table though. They don’t have these at Ikea.

      1.  Petzl’s point is that he doesn’t have ALL the elements in the table . . . most of them, in fact, aren’t in the table at all.  They’re in cabinets around the room.  Expanding on his original post, it’s just an elemental collection, with a beautiful table of the elements.  They’re just not  . . . together. 

  3. After watching, I lol’d at this memory: I remember asking my dad where I could buy salt peter when I was about twelve. He chuckled, but was not forthcoming with the information.

  4. A bit off topic, but my mother grew up in India a very long time ago (in the late ’40s). It was a custom then that when it was ‘that time of the month’ for the women in the family, they were considered unclean and  were not allowed in the main house. They had an outhouse to sleep in, couldn’t handle food and a special dining table was set up on the porch for them to eat at, which my mum and her sisters called…. ‘the periodic table.’

    1. I went to school with a girl who was from India, and her family still has this mentality.  This is in Canada within the last decade.  If it wasn’t for this “dirty blood” none of the men would exist.  Misogyny makes me angry. It’s cool that your mom and her sisters could find some humor in the situation.

      1. It’s entirely possible that they spent most of the month eagerly looking forward to their exile from the menfolk.

  5. It was a comparatively a very liberal household. My mum had a university education – she was a first woman in Madras (now Chennai) to get a phd in botany.  She looks back at the menstruation=dirty thing and laughs and says it was just how things were then. From what I could tell the women didn’t find it demeaning…it was just how it was – they wern’t loved any less, in fact quite the contrary. My mum and aunt idolised Ingrid Bergman, so arrangements were made for them to go to Italy for them to see her and have tea (that sort of thing happened in the ’40s/’50s.) They were followed by a huge retinue of people in Rome who had never seen women in Saris before. Asked by their chaperone if they wanted him to to make arrangements for them to meet an up and coming English Actress who was making a film in Italy at the time; they declined because they were too tired. It was Audrey Hepburn who was making ‘Roman Holiday’. They had an uncle – nickname ‘Uncle Looney’ who was an Egyptologist and would disappear and reappear months or years later with stories of his exploits. 

    The way my mum describes it, it was a great time to grow up, whether or not you were a female.

  6. About 5 years ago, I spent a few hours hanging out in Theo Gray’s office, leaning on the table. When I went to the airport the next day, my suitcase containing the clothes I’d worn the previous day set off the TSA chemical alerts. 

    I told the TSA lady that I had been to visit a friend who collects chemical elements. She told me that only very very dangerous substances would set off the alarm. I said, “Oh, I think my friend’s collected the whole set!” And I asked if we could go through the suitcase to see exactly which item of clothing set off the alarm. She looked horrified, slapped the approval form into the suitcase, slammed my suitcase closed, and tossed it onto the conveyer belt.

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