元素周期表未开发的潜力将使化学在未来几年保持兴奋

When I was a boy first falling in love with chemistry, the Periodic Table excited me with its infinite possibilities. Today, it still does.

随着2019年的临近,龙8国际也迎来了长达一年的世界150周年庆祝活动的尾声th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s development of the Periodic Table. I’ve enjoyed reading the many commemorative features, including stories from my own colleagues. 我也很享受这个场合让我思考自己作为一名科学家的发展.

 

As the son of a chemist, 元素周期表已经成为我生活的一部分,就像字母表一样. In middle school, 我学习元素的化学符号和原子序数,就像其他孩子学习州首府或棒球统计数据一样. 我从来没有掌握在吉尔伯特和沙利文的曲调中演唱元素的技巧, but I still get a kick out of Tom Lehrer’s performance today. 

 

父亲是一位化学家,这意味着龙8国际家里会收到一些非常酷的杂志, including Science and Chemical Engineering News. 每周都有令我着迷的科学和技术新发现. 当然,我读到的大部分内容我都不懂,但这足以激发我的想象力. I particularly recall the way the magazine covers intrigued me. In those days, electron microscopy was all the rage, and Science 封面上经常有显微照片——你在其他地方看不到的照片. As each new issue arrived, 我会细细品味图片,然后向里面寻找我所看到的东西的解释. 仅仅这一点就足以让我的大脑运转起来,激发我对科学的热爱.

 

像许多在20世纪60年代早期长大的孩子一样,我在家玩化学游戏. 在1969年《龙8国际》通过和1972年消费者龙8国际手机版注册安全委员会成立之前, 化学玩具套装包含了比今天所允许的更多的组件. (信不信由你,一些20世纪50年代的化学试剂中含有放射性矿石和盖革计数器!) I remember being particularly excited about the alcohol burner. Typical of a pre-adolescent boy, 我最感兴趣的是能产生冷火焰或散发恶臭的东西. 我记得有一次用硫磺做的实验给我和我母亲留下了深刻的印象.

 

更令人兴奋的是周末有机会和我爸爸在他的实验室做实验. One that stands out in my mind was a project on how to grow crystals. 龙8国际使用了很多典型的化学设备,当你是一个孩子的时候,这些设备似乎特别酷, such as graduated cylinders, beakers, and hot plates. 这个实验也向我展示了材料如何转化,从而创造出新的东西——这是龙8国际手机版注册今天工作中不可或缺的一部分. 

 

Thanks to these experiments, 当我在五年级或六年级正式学习元素周期表时,我已经有了几种元素的实际操作经验. I remember how excited I was by the sheer number of elements, 以及互动的潜力,我甚至无法想象. I also marveled at the knowledge that each element, despite having close neighbors, was truly unique – a fact I continue to marvel at today.

 

Through high school and college, I expanded my chemistry vocabulary, 经过短暂的生物专业学习后,我意识到化学才是我真正的爱好. 我对门捷列夫元素周期表的意义有了更深刻的认识,它是现代化学研究的开端,而不是以前那种偶然的、经常是武断的炼金术. 他对一些尚未发现的元素的准确预测也令我敬畏.

 

有一段时间,我觉得新元素的发现非常令人兴奋. In fact, up until the 103rd element or so, 这一事件曾经是一件国际大事,也是科学界的头条新闻. Today, such developments are still interesting from a theoretical perspective, of course, but the discovery of new elements is no longer revolutionary, 因为它们都是放射性的,寿命很短和/或可获得性极其有限.  对我来说,真正令人兴奋的是龙8国际现有工具集的丰富和未开发的潜力.

 

As someone who has practiced chemistry for more than four decades, 我着迷于从简单的元素不断创造突破性创新的能力. For example, Corning recently developed a revolutionary way to make alumina, 也就是铝和氧——元素周期表上最常见的两种物质. We have leveraged that material innovation to develop an ultra-thin, flexible ceramic ribbon for use in LEDs, Power Electronics, and radio frequency (RF) applications. 这是一个很好的例子,说明龙8国际可以使用一种一直存在的材料来创造新的, unique set of properties.

 

Glass is even more versatile than ceramics. As my colleagues have noted, silicon 是周期表上的朋友们极其亲切的合作者, 龙8国际可以利用它来生产几乎无限的具有独特属性的玻璃成分. The combinations often defy the conventional wisdom of the time. 例如,虽然硼硅酸盐玻璃在今天相当普遍,早在18th 在本世纪,在玻璃中加入硼的想法被认为是荒谬的. More recently, we’ve created unexpected properties with metals. And today, scientists at Corning continue to explore new combinations of elements, 包括点击元素周期表中一些比较奇特的部分. While such possibilities are exciting, indeed, 龙8国际不需要冒险进入元素周期表的狂野西部来创造突破性的创新. 当人们问我对什么食材感兴趣的时候,他们通常会对我谦卑的选择感到惊讶. For example, one element that hasn’t been used much in glass forming is nitrogen, which appears very early on the Periodic Table. 我一直很好奇龙8国际能在既含氮又含氧的眼镜上走多远.

 

It’s premature for me to speculate on those possibilities, but the key takeaway is this: Even with common and simple ingredients, 科学家们继续创造突破性的创新,并推动可能的边界. And, 随着龙8国际采用人工智能等新方法来增强龙8国际的思维, 龙8国际比以往任何时候都更依赖于现有的关于元素属性和关系的知识. Thus, Mendeleev’s work is forever relevant. 就我个人而言,如果龙8国际没有发现另一种元素,我也很满意. 龙8国际有足够的积木让龙8国际永远保持灵感和创新.