Posts by Simon Cotton

Simon Cotton studied at Imperial College London, including research on the chemistry of iron, followed by research and teaching at Queen Mary College, London, and the University of East Anglia. He then taught chemistry for over 30 years, lectured widely in the UK, and did research on the chemistry of iron, cobalt, scandium and the lanthanides. He has written seven books, with ‘Every Molecule Tells A Story’ (CRC Press 2012) and (with Paul May) ‘Molecules That Amaze Us’ (CRC Press 2014) the latest, and ‘Lanthanide and Actinide Chemistry’ (John Wiley 2006) possibly the best known.

Science & Technology

The Periodic Table and the Actinides

Most people know that uranium is radioactive, but few would think of taking a Geiger Counter with them when antique-hunting. A hundred years ago, uranium oxide was widely used in making decorative glass objects. Their characteristic greenish-yellow colour gave them the name of ‘Vaseline glass’, though their radioactivity means that uranium is not used in glass-making these days. Uranium is also used in making the shells fired by Army tanks, as it is extremely dense and also tends to ignite on impact.

Pin It on Pinterest