New iPad app brings the periodic table to life

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Theodore Gray is up to his elemental tricks again, with a new app about the periodic table that features videos showcasing the more interesting properties of the elements in the periodic table.

(Credit: Touch Press)

One of the first apps for the iPad that highlighted how beautiful, and fascinating, apps could be was 2010's The Elements by Wolfram Research co-founder Theodore Gray, a stunning visual exploration of the periodic table — including photographs of each element in its natural state and most common applications, as well as information on its properties.

Three years later, Gray's educational publishing company Touch Press has released a companion app for iPhone and iPad: The Elements in Action. Designed to go side by side with The Elements, it has the same layout — a periodic table floating stylishly in a black background — and tapping on one of the 79 elements with a coloured animation will take you straight to a video showing off one of its more interesting properties.

And boy is it fascinating. For example, we had no idea that gallium and mercury are so devastatingly corrosive to aluminium that they are banned from passenger flights outright lest they come into contact with the fuselages. Or that eating a tiny speck of tellurium can cause a person to become very smelly for a period of several months.

You can grab the app as a stand-alone, but it really works better in concert with The Elements.

It's available now on the iTunes Store for AU$4.99, and The Elements can be picked up for AU$14.99.

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