Edgar Longman

Philip Stewart's Chemical Galaxy, based upon Longman's work

Longman was responsible for much of the artwork in the 1951 Festival of Britain Science Exhibition at South Kensington. He designed the elements in the order of their mass for the Periodic Table as part of the Exhibition within a spiral design (unlike most school chemistry periodic table designs).

At the 1951 Festival of Britain, Longman also displayed:

  • Diagram of Aston’s original equipment for measuring the mass of isotopes;
  • Table of Elements showing electron shell structure;
  • Diagram showing Laue method of X-ray diffration;
  • Diagram showing Bragg’soriginal method of X-ray diffraction;
  • Diagram comparing the highest mountain with the deepest mine and deepest borehole;
  • Diagram showing cross-section of mountain range and complex folding which has taken place.

Having been inspired by the periodic table design at the Festival of Britain, Philip Stewart saw the design appear for the third time in Oliver Sacks’ bookUncle Tungsten, and set to work trying to improve the design. His design was published his ‘Chemical Galaxy’ as a poster in January 2005, and by February 2005 the Royal Society of Chemistry had commissioned 7000 copies to include in its schools pack, sent to chemistry teachers all over Britain, and an American edition has also been published. Stewart hopes that he shall be able to excite interest in a new generation of young chemists, and would love it if publicity for this poster brought belated recognition to Edgar Longman.

Information collated from: Questionnaire submitted by Royall, K. to Embleton, E., Royall, K., ‘Posters of the Second World War: The Fourth Arm of British Defence’, Unpublished M.A., University of Westminster, 1991, p.123; E-mails from Philip Stewart, Department of Plant Sciences, Oxford, August 18 2003; July 2005.

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