Table manners

So, apparently some nerds at the University of Nottingham convinced someone out there to give them a grant to make YouTube videos about the Periodic Table called Periodic Videos—one YouTube video about each element on the Periodic Table. The results, let me tell you, are grant money gone to excellent use.

Picture this: An older British man with crazy, Einsteinian white hair, thick glasses, and clad in a series of dress shirts (long-sleeved and, yes, short-sleeved) that, while probably technically “clean,” happen to look as if he has owned them since 1974, sits behind a desk that has piles of paper on it, some of which are clearly yellowing with age, and says things like “So, element 111 was the first or only element on the Periodic Table where I had to look up what the symbol stood for, and it is called Roentgenium, named after the German chemist Roentgen, or physicist, I suppose, who was the first person to discover x-rays…As you can see, it’s almost unpronounceable. You swallow half the words in your mouth.” A star is born: This man is adorable.

His supporting cast is no less “I-Want-To-Hug-You” worthy. Most notably, the guy in plastic lab glasses and a green lab jacket who lives in what appears to be his parents’ garage with his bald, buff, silent assistant who holds balloons and blow torches for him, and the obligatory Hot Camera Guy who you don’t see except for a photograph of him with his camera equipment on the site’s homepage. While it’s true that Hot Camera Guy is attractive, his camera work is also the work of a genius: wobbly and excitedly zooming in and zooming out on things when you least expect it. I could watch this stuff all day and appreciate it more and more with each video. Bravo. Four stars. Two thumbs up. Encore.