What are elements? Chemical elements are the materials that make up our known universe. They are the building blocks that everything in our lives are made of. Elements all consist of three things: protons, electrons and neutrons.
What is the periodic table? The periodic table organizes all known elements. Elements that are close to each other have things in common. All elements are represented by one or two letters, a number saying how much they weigh, and a number saying how many protons are in one atom of each element. Atoms are tiny particles that made up everything around us.
Parts of a square on the periodic table
Aluminum (Al) is used to create foil, cans, and cars Oxygen (O) is what we breathe. It is in the air all around us. 20.8% of air is oxygen. Carbon (C) is essential to all living things. Carbon is also the material diamonds are made from. Silver (Ag) is used in making jewelry. Your necklace chain in this box is actually plated with silver! Helium (He) is a very lightweight element. That is why we use it to fill balloons. Since it is lighter than air, it floats up!
March STEM Star: Andrea Hadjikyriacou
This month's theme is Chemistry and the awesome scientist is Andrea Hadjikyriacou. Andrea's work focuses on the area of science called biochemistry. Her research focuses on the biochemical characterization of protein arginine methyltransferases. In addition to her research, she runs a blog and Instagram called PhD Fashionista which works to show that scientists can be fashionable too. Want to find out more about her work, fashion and her area of science? Read on below and look out for her feature in our March Sci Chic Kids and Sci Chic Monthly subscription boxes!
1. Can you describe what a biochemist studies and what you do on a daily basis?
A biochemist studies science at the intersection between biology and chemistry - we study the chemistry of biology, and apply chemistry techniques to study proteins, amino acids, and modifications of these proteins. On a daily basis, I come to the lab, organize my list of things to do, and start my experiments. My experiments vary day to day, but usually I am running around the lab running samples to analyze individual modified amino acids, purifying proteins, setting up reactions, and checking on my living organism model, the worm C. elegans!