Jan 7, 2020
Dr. Eric Scerri

To mark the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the periodic table, Eric Scerri’s book about the periodic table was featured in the New Yorker.  

Chemistry lecturer and author Dr. Eric Scerri celebrates 20 years as a UCLA this year. His much cited 2007 book has become the definitive account of the development and significance of the periodic table. Oxford University Press recently published a revised and expanded second edition that was featured in the December 27, 2019 issue of the New Yorker Magazine

“I was pleased with this very well-written article,” Scerri said. “However, I’d like to mention how misconceptions can creep into popular accounts. For example, most of the 2000 chemistry students that I teaches each year could point out several errors with my misquoted statement on the ‘spin’ of electrons”. 

2019 was a busy year for Scerri. He gave several lectures in a dozen countries in the summer, and he was interviewed by many media sources including NBC’s Dateline,  Future Tech,  The Daily BruinBBC Radio 4, and Chemical & Engineering News. Scerri also discussed his passion for the periodic table in a recent UCLA College video. In the summer, Scerri visited Saint Petersburg, Russia to attend the 4th International Conference on the Periodic Table, which he helped to organize. While there, Scerri visited the statue of Dmitri Mendeleev, the Russian chemist who created the periodic table, and the famous giant periodic table, which are both featured on the front cover of his first book on the periodic table. Scerri is pictured right with the statue of Mendeleev.

Scerri is the author or editor of twelve books and a full-time lecturer in the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the international journal Foundations of Chemistry that covers the history and philosophy of chemistry, and chemical education. He was the historical consultant for the 2015 PBS docudrama Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements in which he is interviewed extensively about the creator of the periodic table, Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. To learn more about Scerri, visit his website.