The Periodic Table Takes Me Back.

I went to a meeting at Harkins Hall on the Providence College campus this week.

Harkins Hall was the place where I took many classes so many years ago. Every time I enter the building, nostalgia washes over me as I get the feeling that I should be going to a class. In an instant, I was transformed as I stood in the foyer to listen and reflect. It was quiet.

The students were on break. Nonetheless, I could hear their footsteps as I paused. I felt like I might be late for class.

I walked the granite stairs to room 300, either the same floor or one below the former library location. The smell of mature cement was stuck in my memory. I entered the room.

“This is a lecture room now,” said one the attendees. “It was once a lounge. Now the professors teach many science classes here.”

I was a science major. More nostalgia as I looked at the chart on the wall. It was an older periodic table containing the name, symbol and atomic number of the elements! I remembered it, though I had not seen one in 50 years.

per table

How could I forget? It took me back to the dreaded days of memorizing the names of many of the elements, for whatever reason I’ll never know. Now there are 118 elements.

Why, IN MY DAY, there were merely 98 and we had to know many of them. Look…. Molybdenum…I remember that one.

Again, why did we have to memorize the names and atomic numbers of so many?

Part of education I guess, and I loved every minute.

I sat and stared at the periodic table wishing I were back, memorizing.

By | 2017-07-10T16:10:16+00:00 July 14th, 2014|Education|2 Comments


  1. Vincent DiBiasio July 14, 2014 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    As a chemistry major who graduated from PC in 1961, the periodic chart of elements was always on my mind in those days. Albertus Magnus Hall is where we had all our chemistry classes.

    Nowadays whenever I come across the periodic chart in an article or on TV, I start to recite the first nine elements in my mind. Just a quirk, and possibly what you may think a chemistry major would do.

    • Ed July 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm - Reply

      It was almost frightening when I saw it, Vin.

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