Category: Dill, Dan
Chemistry friends and alumni are invited to view our completely redesigned and renovated front office by clicking here or — better yet — by visiting. While looking radically different, the new front office fits seamlessly into the original footprint. The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) commissioned the design from Kristine Stoller and Alan Westman (LEED Green Associate at KSID, LLC) and the construction from JK Blackstone. Led by the Chair of Chemistry, Professor John Straub, and the Director of Operations, Paul Ferrari, staff members were consulted throughout the process and their recommendations and requests informed the new design.
The design highlight of office is the wall-mounted periodic table designed by Professor Dan Dill. Suggested by Kris Stoller, the image brilliantly connects the office to “Chemistry” and immediately points to the mission of the Department. So how did Dan Dill design his periodic table? Read on!
When we needed a graphically compelling representation of the Periodic Table for the Chemistry front office, we turned to Professor Dan Dill. In addition to his theoretical and physical chemistry expertise, Professor Dill is an accomplished photographer, who received a Kodak Award in 2006. Here is his recounting of the process:
“I received an e-mail from our Chair, John Straub, in which he related designer Kristine Stoller’s idea for a periodic table in the new office. John ended his message with:
I was thinking of the very nice Periodic Table that you created years ago, and that has been much used in our Department.
The tools I used to create that original Periodic Table have been lost in the sands of digital time, and so it was necessary to begin anew, using the latest version of Adobe Illustrator.
The first step in the new design was to settle on the format of the element boxes. The box for Xenon shows what we settled on, using the typeface Adobe Myriad Pro. (The dark chevron indicates that at room temperature Xenon is a gas.)
With that done, the next step was to assemble the elements into the traditional periodic table format, adapted to the dimensions of the wall in the new chemistry office. It was then that Kristine mentioned her plan to have the table printed on six resin panels. Her innovative concept allowed us to break with convention by partitioning the table itself into six portions.
At this point we thought that the only thing left to do was to check and recheck all entries for errors. Everyone in the department enthusiastically helped with this task. Just as we were completing it, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry published its technical report, “Atomic weights of the elements 2009” (Wieser & Coplen, 12 December 2010). It recommended that atomic weights for Boron, Carbon, Chlorine, Hydrogen, Lithium, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulfur, Silicon and Thallium span intervals (shown, for example, for Nitrogen as 14.00643–14.00728), due to variation in isotopic composition of their stable isotopes.
We consider it good fortune to have been able to incorporate these latest recommendations into the table. After many new rounds of proof reading, the completed design was printed on the resin panels displayed in the office.