Monthly Archives: January 2011

2011 Science Oddities: The world’s tiniest periodic table and a geophysicist who loved limericks

For my first post of 2011, I will turn your attention to two examples of the delightful idiosyncrasies of scientists. Others may prefer to call them the “geekery” typical of “nerds,” but that’s too dismissive when you consider how trendy it is nowadays to be labeled a “nerd.” E.g., “Geek is chic,” etc.

First, here is the the world’s itty-bittiest periodic table of the elements, which has been imprinted onto a single human hair (as a birthday gift, of course!). When you see this scientist’s hair, you too will realize the inspiration for this present.

Via @Holly_Richmond.

Second, let us take a moment of seismism (or silence, if you prefer) for the passing of Jack Oliver, the geophysicist who shook the world into accepting the theory of continental drift (as in plate tectonics, or, how the world is actually a broken jigsaw puzzle that floats on a sea of Jello that just won’t quite set). The New York Times Science section concludes its obituary of Oliver by pointing out his propensity for writing limericks, which he used in-between the chapters of his 1998 autobiography, Shakespeare Got It Wrong: It’s Not “to Be,” It’s “to Do”:

The youth wondered what he should be.

His prof said, “You’re missing the key.

Life’s not to be, but to do.

Pick a task, follow through.

You’ll live ever after most happily.”

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