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Celebrating 150 years of the periodic table

Dr. Angela Fösel's field of research is astronomy with a focus on "sundials". (Image: private, editing: FAU / Luisa Macharowsky)
Dr. Angela Fösel's field of research is astronomy with a focus on "sundials". (Image: private, editing: FAU / Luisa Macharowsky)

For the 150th anniversary of the periodic table, we asked our scientists about their favourite element

Dr. Angela Fösel, Chair of Didactics of Physics, on sulphur:

“My favourite element is sulphur (S) – a multifaceted element which has been known for 5.000 years. The ancient Egyptians for example used sulphur for bleaching textiles, as medicine and for disinfection. The ancient Greeks sulfurized wine and horseradish to extend their durability and this preservation method is still in use today. In the Old Testament, sulphur is mentioned as a weapon of war in connection with the destruction of the cities Sodom and Gomorra. A treatise from around 1044 describes different forms of black powder, a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulphur. Sulphur also occurs near active volcanos. For example,  the steam exits on the island of Vulcano emit, among other things, hydrogen sulphide, which condenses at the exit point and forms yellow, beautifully to be regarded sulfur crystals.”


Further interviews within the framework of the “150 Jahre Periodensystem” series as well as more exciting stories about FAU can be found on our website and the FAU Facebook page.

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