(Periodic) New Year’s Resolutions

Certainly, I am not the only person who makes resolutions in the new year, only to break them in the bleak cold winter and have them pop up periodically throughout throughout spring, possibly summer, only to be completely forgotten in the fall. It is a trend that I have repeated for many years. This year will be no different, and yet it will be quite different. There will be trends, and periodicity in this year’s resolutions, but all of them will be intentional. (Ok, have I drained this ridiculous chemistry pun of what little humor it once had?)

This year, I’m making New Year’s resolutions in honor of 2019 being the International Year of the Periodic Table. I’ve been thinking about this event since it was announced early last year and have come up with a number of projects and activities that I’d like to complete. Usually, I keep my resolutions private, so that if (uhhh when) I break them, I can pretend they never existed. (If a resolution falls in the woods, and there’s no one there to hear my thoughts….) However, this year’s resolutions are more important than my fruitless desires to lose weight or kill off bad habits. I plan to better myself through chemistry (periodically). Ok, I’m done with that. Here’s my list of resolutions for 2019:

I, BoBtheChemist, resolve to

  1. Read a book (or two) about the periodic table
  2. Explore how I can use social media to promote my passion for the periodic table
  3. Create a game based upon the periodic table
  4. Promote appreciation of the periodic table among non-chemists
  5. Eat cupcakes shaped like a periodic table
  6. Get students to stand on a football field in the form of a periodic table
  7. Host parties and events based upon the periodic table

It’s an ambitious year, and when I look at the list (and think about the one or two I’m not ready to reveal – old habits die hard) I cannot help but feel a bit overwhelmed. I’ve made some good progress this first month, and it’s not over yet. I’m almost finished with Hugh Aldersey-Williams’ book: Periodic Tails: A Cultural History of the Elements, From Arsenic to Zinc. I think will have time to tackle Primo Levi’s book before the year is out (I’ve been through Sam Kean’s and Eric Scerri’s books already).

Item #2 has been interesting. With help from a couple of well-placed hashtags, my average daily impressions on Twitter (whatever the heck an impression is) has skyrocketed from about 200 to over 3400. Granted, I’ve no idea what that actually gets me; however I struggle with the purpose or value of social media and I’m willing to try it out a bit more.

Oh, and #3, the game. Let me just put this out there.

Coming this fall, the periodic table will take over a college campus near you.

I’ve made no progress on the remaining items; however I suspect that #5 will not be a problem and I won’t give #6 another thought until the 2+ feet of snow outside is nothing but a faded memory. #7? Well, come back in February (the 12th, in particular).

I hope meeting your new year’s resolutions will be as fun (and challenging) as mine will be.

2 thoughts on “(Periodic) New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Great resolutions. I had no idea it was the International Year of the Periodic Table. I recently installed a shower curtain with a periodic table on it. In case I’m having trouble remembering the electron configuration of arsenic, for example. I also bought a pair of 11×14 for posters for the bathroom. Ba and Th, framed and on the bathroom wall, so everyone knows this is where baths occur. I was looking for a couple of phosphate tiles and a couple of oxygen tiles, but I couldn’t find a vendor that sells all the tiles. I wonder if there is a market for that?
    Chemist Bob (although sometimes called Bob the Chemist)

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