Winning Element Videos

Winning Element Videos

Author: Vera KoesterORCID iD

To celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT2019), together with the journal Chemie in Unserer Zeit, we invited our readers to share their favorite elements in a video. We have received some very nice and creative videos which show a wide range of approaches to presenting an element.

Now the competition has ended and the jury has chosen three winners: The first prize, an iPad, goes to the sulfur video of Florian and Georg Berger, the second and third prizes, a 200 EUR Wiley/Wiley-VCH book voucher each, go to the chlorine video of Lucia Ramos Moreno and the magnesium video by students of the IGS Wilhelmshaven. Congratulations to the winners and thank you very much for all of your submissions. You can watch all the videos here.

We talked to the makers of the videos to find out what particularly fascinated them about the element they chose and how they decided how to create their video.




Florian and Georg Berger, students at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, Mülheim an der Ruhr, and the University of Heidelberg, Germany, shared their fascination with sulfur in their video. “We chose sulfur because of its multifaceted chemistry. It features a broad range of oxidation states, forms compounds with many elements, and occurs in various coordination geometries.” They put special emphasis on sulfur’s beautiful yellow crystals—in the video, the camera moves slowly around a giant crystal—and the intense blue flame.

This video was rated highest by our readers and is the first winner of the video competition. Congratulations to Florian and Georg Berger.




Nina Volker opted for carbon, an element that can form a vast variety of different compounds. In her video, she describes the most important properties and some key data for the discovery of the element. She also used a carbon allotrope—graphite—in the production of the video: The information is written down in pencil.



Cu and Mg

Two videos were submitted by groups of students of a school in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. It was important for both groups to show experiments with the elements in their videos.

The two 15-year-old students who made the video about magnesium immediately remembered the experiment of burning magnesium and what happens when the metal reacts with oxygen. Based on these ideas, they searched the Internet for further experiments that were easy to carry out.

The second group, four 16-year-old pupils, were fascinated by copper. They like this element because it is in use in everyday life, e.g., in cables, dynamos, etc. And—important for the video—it burns with a nice green flame.

The students had never produced a video before. They said, at first it was quite difficult to get a sharp picture and have the experiments well in focus. Their teacher, Dr. Marc Stuckey, told ChemViews Magazine that the students enjoyed the production process very much. He also liked the project from a teaching point of view: “The students not only had to look at the chemistry, but they had to plan the arrangement of the experiments in the video. The students were very focused to make sure there wouldn’t be any mistakes in the videos. So they carefully double-checked all the facts and chemical equations before adding them to the video.”

The effort has paid off: IGS Wilhelmshaven, as the best participating school, receives a high-quality scale for their school equipment. This special prize was donated by Sartorius AG, a renowned technology group for laboratory equipment.




The students Hannah Fenger and Lara Rietmann choose Cu for their video. They thought it is interesting that this element does not only play an important role in chemistry but also in biology. Furthermore, it can be found in architecture and art, and, therefore, played a role in history. And nowadays, they say, without copper, information technology could not exist in the way it is. Fascinated by this breadth, the two decided to show the history of copper from ancient times until today.


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