Saturday, December 11, 2004

Periodic table programs

If you are a chemist, you would probably like to have a Periodic Table somewhere on your computer desktop. And presumably something more than just a pretty picture: something with actual useful data in it.

If you have 24-hour internet access, WebElements
offers a wealth of information, as does ChemGlobe at the Swiss Federal Polytechnic (ETH Zuerich).

As for offline PToE programs, I own both Periodic Table X and Atomic Mac. The former has a pleasing interface and is customizable, the latter has a wealth of info (radionuclide decay trees, X-ray absorption, you name it).

Neither program has yet been updated yet for element 111 (eka-gold), which was just officially named Roentgenium. Some of the data used are "Caveat Emptor": I pointed out several errors in electron affinity data to the author of Periodic Table X some time ago. They did get fixed (thanks!), but it would be much nicer if either program maintained these data in a human-readable (and human-editable) file, so additions and corrections were possible without having access to the source code.

If your needs are more basic than mine, you can't go very wrong with the freeware Smell-O-Mints.