By Rachel Gobep
A large, intricate periodic table now lights up the student lounge area on the west side of Ward Beecher Hall at Youngstown State University.
Ray Beiersdorfer, also known as Dr. Ray, made arrangements for the 118-element periodic table, and he helped secure the donation that was given to the university for the cabinet by an anonymous donor.
Dr. Ray, a distinguished professor of environmental and geological sciences, made these arrangements before his untimely death after he suffered from a heart attack on campus in October.
Susie Beiersdorfer, Dr. Ray’s wife and an adjunct professor of environmental geology at YSU, said the periodic table is amazing, and it is a powerful legacy to Dr. Ray.
“It’s a masterpiece, it’s artistic, it’s scientific and it really lays out the periodic table of the elements,” she said.
Beiersdorfer said this is what education is about.
“[Education] is not about just seeing a little chart on the wall or something in the book. This is science in our world. This is everyday science, connecting your real world to an element,” she said.
The periodic table connects the real world to an element by showing how the element can be used in everyday life. For example, indium is found in the screens of cell phones.
Felicia Armstrong, associate professor of geological and environmental sciences, said she believes the periodic table is a great addition to the campus learning environment.
She said she plans on utilizing it in some way by taking her students to view the display.
The cabinet was designed and constructed on campus by Marcos Polomo, a craftsman from Madrid, Spain. The installation was also constructed by Andrew Goodall, a chemistry elements specialist with RGB Research Ltd. in London that supplies the elements, according to a YSU press release.
It takes the pair four days to assemble the cabinet and install the elements, and there are around 15 periodic table installments across the United States.
The process is also underway for Dr. Ray’s Memorial Diamond because he told people that when he died, he wanted to be a diamond in the YSU Mineral Museum.
One pound of his ashes was sent off to create a “diamond in the rough” because Dr. Ray was “many faceted and not polished.”
A scarlet oak tree, which is the only tree of its kind on campus, was planted in honor of Dr. Ray. An abundance of YSU students, faculty and staff gathered in the lawn between Moser and Ward Beecher Halls for the tree planting ceremony in November. The tree can be seen while sitting in the student lounge viewing the periodic table.