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Flash Goddess
January 2003

Kristin Henry
Interactive Periodic Table of Elements
Interactive Periodic Table of Elements
Table Toy
“Interactive Periodic Table of Elements” and “Table Toy”
Creator: Kristin Henry


Artist Statement:

As a student, I often had trouble with exams. Fortunately, a friend showed me the trick of drawing (diagramming) whatever I was studying. A new world opened up for me. If I could draw it, I could write it out for the exam. And I understood it more clearly. I’m still drawing, in a way, but Flash ActionScript is my medium.

Most of my work covers science and math themes. The periodic table project was a lot of fun. Getting the dynamically generated cells for each element lined up correctly, and communicating back and forth between flash and webMathematica, was a bit of a challenge. But that’s the kind of challenge I enjoy.

Curator Review:

It isn’t often that an educational piece is featured in an experimental art gallery. However, this inventive take on the periodic table of elements that we learned in high school chemistry class is worthy of this recognition. Kristin Henry’s interactive version of the table acts as flash cards for the elements. It allows us to quiz ourselves with quick rollovers. Additionally, it provides a wealth of information when an element is clicked. This two-level approach is very intuitive and effective.

Table Toy is a novel presentation of the periodic table as a word game. It is surprisingly challenging and satisfying to create words from the elements’ symbols. Word lists can be submitted and will be judged and published in a “best of” list on GalaxyGoo.

These two interactive experiences demonstrate that Flash experimentation needn’t always be in the visual realm. Gathering and presenting information effectively is not a trivial task and Kristin accomplishes the undertaking with precision.

The interactive periodic table uses XML for basic information and webMathematica for the details of the elements. Kristin is pioneering the use of webMathematica as a backend tool controlled by Flash to create useful and educational applications.