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GVSU to host attempt to create world record periodic table

  • Organizers held a trial run of the attempt earlier this year.

Posted on October 16, 2019

Grand Valley State University is organizing an attempt to create the world's largest periodic table to celebrate National Chemistry Week.

The attempt is an effort involving more than 100 businesses, high schools and colleges and organizations throughout West Michigan, the state, across the country and as far away as India.

Volunteers from these groups created 118 blocks, each one consisting of six fastened tablecloths containing the atomic number, element name, element symbol and atomic weight of each element in the periodic table. When completed, the piece will stretch about 108 yards in width.

The event will be open to the public October 19 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Kelly Family Sports Center on the Allendale Campus.

Organizers will be placing the blocks, each done with individual creative flourishes, during the event. The Grand Valley Physics Department will lend its lasers for precise measuring to document the attempt at creating the largest periodic table for submission to Guinness World Records.

The attempt at the world record is being done in conjunction with the American Chemistry Society - Western Michigan Local Section. 

Michelle DeWitt, event organizer and lead lab supervisor for the Grand Valley Chemistry Department, said the attempt coincides with the 150th anniversary of the periodic table. The United Nations declared 2019 as the international year of the periodic table; its Educational, Scientific and Cultural organization has included Grand Valley's plan on a world map showing events to coincide with that designation.