A Disney Periodic Table

The periodic table is an incredible tool for chemists around the world. But there’s no reason you can’t use it in other ways to teach how the universe works.

I was always frustrated that alternative ‘periodic tables’ that were really just collections of stuff: they didn’t follow any patterns and often didn’t make much sense. But I was convinced you could relate the periodic table’s structure to almost anything.

I chose Disney characters. All groups follow periodicity, and each character chosen relates to a property of that element.

An A3, high resolution version can be downloaded here.

There are a whole host of classroom activities you could do with his idea: pick an element and decide what Disney character you’d choose; talk about how group periodicity works using examples; or even ask what character the class would pick for element 119, based on the rules. Sibrina Collins and LaVetta Appleby have done a similar exercise for schoolkids using vibranium, the element in Black Panther.

As for my choices, here they are, explained in full:

Hydrogen (H): Joy (Inside Out)– the first element in any Disney movie!
Helium (He): Up (Up) – of course it’s the good guys from Up and their helium balloons
Lithium (Li): Lilo (Lilo and Stitch) – A small, impish element always getting into hot water
Beryllium (Be): Esmerelda (Hunchback of Notre Dame) – her name means Emerald, which is made of beryl
Boron (B): Bambi (Bambi) – Bambi was Disney’s fifth movie
Carbon (C): Cinderella (Cinderella) – from cinders, aka carbon
Nitrogen (N): Elsa (Frozen) – a freezing element, combined with K makes gunpowder
Oxygen (O): Lady Tremaine (Cinderella)  – Oxygen means ‘sharp mother’; wicked stepmother of Cinderella.
Fluorine (F): Jafar (Aladdin) – agent of change, also Jafar meaning river, fluorine means ‘to flow’
Neon (Ne): Ian and Barclay (Onward) – neon means ‘new’ and this is the most recent Disney movie
Sodium (Na) – Nani (Lilo and Stitch) – bigger sister to Lilo and the initials are perfect
Magnesium (Mg): Meg (Hercules) – Not only are the initials perfect, but magnesium is named after a region of Greece
Aluminium (Al): Aladdin (Aladdin) – A light metal element for a street thief
Silicon (Si): Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves) – silicon is the basis for porcelain
Phosphorus (P): Elinor (Brave) – both phosphorus and Elinor mean bringer of light
Sulfur (S): Hades (Hercules) – sulfur means brimstone and is associated with the Devil. And also catches fire…
Chlorine (Cl): Chernobog (Fantasia) – Lime green = evil in Disney. Chlorine is lime green.
Argon (Ar): Pooh (Tigger Movie etc…) – the noble Pooh is also lazy, which is what Argon means.
Potassium (K): Anna (Frozen) – paired with N to make gunpowder, but also important for hearts (spoilers: think what happens in Frozen)
Calcium (Ca): Moana (Moana) – the element of nephrite jade, which is used as a pounamu in the film.
Scandium (Sc): Kristoff (Frozen) – Named after Scandinavia, and Kristoff is an iceman with a reindeer
Titanium (Ti): Mr Incredible (The Incredibles) – He’s bullet proof
Vanadium (V): Coco (Coco) – Originally discovered in Mexico, so we go to a Mexican hero
Chromium (Cr): Pocahontas (Pocahontas) – sings Colors of the Wind, chromium means colors
Manganese (Mn): Lightning McQueen (Cars) – manganese is added to unleaded petrol
Iron (Fe): Captain Hook (Peter Pan) – the iron-handed (literally) villain
Cobalt (Co): Creeper (Black Cauldron) – Means goblin, which Creeper is!
Nickel (Ni): Nick (Zootopia)  the obvious choice here, he’s also a devilish copper
Copper (Cu): Judy Hopps (Zootopia) – Copper is UK slang for a police officer
Zinc (Zn): Elastagirl (The Incredibles)– a highly malleable metal
Gallium (Ga): Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) – the ultimate French cock
Germanium (Ge): Flynn Ryder (Tangled) – A German hero for Germanium
Astatine (As): Wicked Queen (Snow White and the 7 Dwarves) – The greatest poisoner of them all! Not very fair.
Selenium (Se): Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) – Selene was a goddess who made someone fall asleep forever
Bromine (Br): Stinky Pete (Toy Story 2) – Bromine means smelly!
Krypton (Kr): Mushu (Mulan) – Hidden, but there just the same!
Rubidium (Rb): Giselle (Enchanted) – A redhead who reacts badly to being thrown down a well
Strontium (Sr): Merida (Brave) – The Scottish element gets its Scottish princess.
Yttrium (Y): Rex (Toy Story) – similarity to the animals in our Ytterby series, but not quite
Zirconium (Zr): Hans (Frozen) – means gold-like, which is how Hans seems to be
Niobium (Nb): Kenai (Brother Bear) – Niobe was punished for hubris, like Kenai
Molybdenum (Mo): Geppetto (Pinocchio) – father of our element 43
Technetium (Tc): Pinocchio (Pinocchio) – technetium means artificial, just like our puppet boy
Ruthenium (Ru): Peter (Make Mine Music) – from the Russian story Peter and the Wolf
Rhodium (Rh): Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) – means rose-coloured; Aurora is also known as Briar Rose
Palladium (Pd): Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmatians) – Pallas was flayed skin, which is what Cruella De Vil wants
Silver (Ag): Alice (Alice in Wonderland) – Alice in Wonderland was part of Disney’s silver age
Cadmium (Cd): Hercules (Hercules)  – Cadmium comes from Cadmus, the greatest Greek hero before Hercules
Indium (In): Mowgli (Jungle Book) – Indium is named after India, where Mowgli is from
Tin (Sn): Tinker Bell (Peter Pan) – she is named after a tin bell
Antimony (Sb): Narissa (Enchanted) – another poisoner, but also with a fantastic kohl eye game
Tellurium (Te): Yzma (The Emperor’s New Groove) – tellurium means Earth, so obviously I went for Eartha Kitt!
Iodine (I): Ursula (Little Mermaid) – Iodine was first isolated from sea weed and means violet, so let’s go for a violet sea witch!
Xenon (Xe): Fairy Godmother (Cinderella) – a stranger who arrives to save the day
Cesium (Cs): Jasmine (Aladdin) – means sky blue, which is the colour she wears and what she flies through on her magic carpet
Barium (Ba): Mulan (Mulan) – Ba is Chinese for 8 (lucky), also barium used in Han Chinese art
Lanthanum (La): Remy (Ratatouille) – Lanthanum means to lie hidden, like Remy under a hat
Cerium (Ce): Rescuers (The Rescuers) – Cerium rescued Primo Levi from Auschwitz
Praseodymium and neodymium (Pr and Nd): Si and Am (Aristocats) – twin cats for the twin elements
Promethium (Pm): Frankenweenie (Frankenweenie) – Frankenstein was the modern Prometheus
Samarium (Sm): Sully (Monsters Inc.) – Samarium was almost called decepium (deceptive)… Boo calls Sully “Kitty”
Europium (Eu): Basil (The Great Mouse Detective) – a very European element for Basil the Great Mouse Detective
Gadolinium (Gd): King John (Robin Hood) – a John for a Johan, as the element’s named after Gadolin
Terbium (Tb): Arlo (The Good Dinosaur) – one of our dinosaur series, all linked to Ytterby
Dysprosium (Dy): Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland) – dysprosium means ‘hard to get at’
Holumium (Ho): Beast (Beauty and the Beast) – holmium is Stockholm, which is the syndrome Beast gives Belle
Erbium (Er): Aladar (Dinosaur) – another of our dinos
Thulium (Th): Sven (Frozen) – a reindeer to represent the frozen north
Ytterbium (Yb): T-Rex (Fantasia) – the last of our dinos, from the Rite of Spring
Lutetium (Lu): Duchess (Aristocats) – Paris’ element, so I went with a French cat
Hafnium (Hf): Ariel (The Little Mermaid) – Hafnium is named after Copenhagen, associated with the tale of the little mermaid
Tantalum (Ta): Mickey (Fantasia) – Sorcerer’s Apprentice reminds me of Tantalus, so close!
Tungsten (W): Wort (The Sword in the Stone) – Arthur and Tungsten both mean ‘stone’
Rhenium (Re): Rapunzel (Tangled) – means ‘flowing’, much like the Rhine through her native Germany
Osmium (Os): Tarzan (Tarzan) – let’s be honest: there’s no way Tarzan doesn’t smell. Which is what osmium means.
Iridium (Ir): Mike (Monsters Inc.) – Iridium means iris, so I went with the giant eye!
Platinum (Pt): Kuzco (The Emperor’s New Groove) – platinum was worked by South American tribes loooong before it was ‘discovered’ by Europeans
Gold (Au) – Robin Hood (Robin Hood) – robs gold, has a heart of gold
Mercury (Hg) – Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland) – mercury was said to turn hatters insane
Thallium (Th) – Woody (Toy Story) Means green twig, so Woody!
Lead (Pb) – Milo (Atlantis the Lost Empire) Milo was a plumber (which comes from the Latin for lead). Also that movie sunk like lead at the box office…
Bismuth (Bi): Kida (Atlantis the Lost Empire) – because of the vast underwater deposits
Polonium (Po): Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) – a nasty element found in Paris
Astatine (At): Dr Facilier (The Princess and the Frog)  name means ‘unstable’, which is what our shadow man happens to be!
Radon (Rn) – Merlin (Sword in the Stone) element that changes rapidly, just like Merlin in the movie
Francium (Fr): Belle (Beauty and the Beast) – obviously the French princess gets to be the element named after France!
Radium (Ra): Tiana (The Princess and the Frog) – from The Princess and the Frog; Ra. Is a common Latin shorthand for The Frogs by Aristophanes
Actinium (Ac): Mufasa (The Lion King) – actinium means ray, much like the sun rising over the Serengeti
Thorium (Th): Bolt (Bolt) –  what else for the element named from the god of thunder?
Protactinium (Pa): Simba (The Lion King) – quite literally from actinium!
Uranium (U): Dumbo (Dumbo) – Uranus is a sky element, Dumbo flies
Neptunium (Np): Sebastian (The Little Mermaid) – what better representative for the kingdom of Neptune?
Plutonium (Pu): Pluto (Numerous) – plutonium was named after the planetoid, just like the character
Americium (Am): Chicken Little (Chicken Little) – Americium is used in smoke detectors (ie a warning system)
Curium (Cm): Lady and Tramp (Lady and the Tramp) – after the greatest wife and husband team, Marie and Pierre Curie
Berkelium (Bk): Baloo (Jungle Book) – if you’ve ever been to Berkeley you’ll understand
Californium (Cf): Home on the Range (Home on the Range) – set in California! (The bad guy is from Alameda)
Einsteinium (Es): Einstein (Oliver and Company) – well, you have to have Einstein for einsteinium, right?
Fermium (Fm): Dr Doppler (Treasure Planet) – Treasure Planet’s genius dog doctor for Enrico Fermi
Mendelevium (Md): 101 Dalmatians (101 Dalmatians) – Element 101 could have no other choice.
No: Gurgi (The Black Cauldron) – A creature who blows himself up, which reminds me of Alfred Nobel’s dynamite
Lr: Amelia (Treasure Planet) – Captain that led us to new adventures, like Earnest Lawrence
Rf: Maui (Moana) – A Polynesian demigod? Perfect for Rutherford.
Db: WALL-E (WALL-E) – To celebrate Dubna’s role in the Russian space program
Sg: Lewis Robinson (Meet the Robinsons) – Seaborg was a brilliant scientist, like Lewis
Bh: Eric (The Little Mermaid) – A brilliant Dane, like Niels Bohr (see Hafnium)
Hassium(Hs): Headless Horseman (Ichabod and Mr Toad) – He is a Hessian!
Meitnerium (Mt): Edna Mode (The Incredibles) – After Lise Mietner, so had to be a badass woman!
Darmstadtium (Dm): Dash (The Incredibles)– An element that’s very quick to disappear.
Roentgenium (Rg): Violet (The Incredibles)– William Roentgen invented X-rays, violet is see-through
Copernicium (Cp): Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story) – Named after an astronomer who took us to infinity and beyond
Nihonium (Nh): Ponyo (Ponyo) – The first Japanese Disney hero
Flerovium (Fl): Ralph (Wreck-it Ralph) – This element wrecks periodicity!
Moscovium (Mc): Stitch (Lilo and Stitch) – Moscovium is most famous as being at the centre of a UFO hoax!
Livermorium (Lv): Big Hero 6 (Big Hero 6) – Named after a US San Francisco lab!
Tennessine (Ts): Penny (Bolt) – Miley Cyrus, who plays Penny, is from Tennessee
Oganesson (Og): Genie (Aladdin) – Named after the periodic table’s own genie, Yuri Oganessian.

And finally where are Nemo and Dory? They represent all the elements we haven’t found yet!

And naturally a disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any Disney character. This is for educational purposes only.