Some of my favorite emails are the ones that I get from ‘fans’ of my books. Most of these fans are very young, and they write charming emails. Here’s one that I recently received from Noah in Washington DC, with my replies to his questions.

Dear Professor Dingle,

Hi Noah. I haven’t reached the dizzy heights of professor yet, so you should simply call me Adrian!

I really liked your books about chemistry.

Thanks Noah, I am really glad that you are enjoying the books. It was a lot of fun to write them so I am glad you are having fun reading them.

I just got the new periodic table guys book.  I’m very excited that it has a page about Neptunium.  Neptunium is my favorite element.  Neptunium is my favorite element because I used to really like space and Neptune was my favorite planet. 

Cool. Neptunium, element number 93, was named after the planet Neptune because the previous element, uranium, was also named after a planet, Uranus.

Basher 92 & 93

Neptunium was discovered in 1940 by McMillan and Abelson.

What is your favorite element?

This is a question that I get asked a LOT and it’s really hard for me to choose. There are so many great stories and very cool elements so I would need a really long list!

What I really want to know about is electron configurations and balancing equations. This is the hard part of chemistry. Do you have a good way of understanding it?

Those things can be a little tricky! Here are some games about building atoms with protons, neutrons and electrons and balancing equations that you can try out.

Phet Atom Build
Phet Balaacing
I am British. I heard you were British.

Yes, England is my real home but I now live in the United States.

I heard you were writing a history of chemistry for kids. I wrote a little book about it. What is your favorite part in the history of chemistry? I really like Mendeleev and Lavoisier and pee man.

Yes, I am currently working on two projects. One of them is an adaptation for kids of Same Kean’s great book, The Disappearing Spoon. You can read a little more about that project here.

I am also working on a kids book about the history of the discovery of the elements. I think those stories are my favorite part of the history of chemistry. When you say the ‘pee man’ are you talking about Hennig Brand and phosphorous?

Love Noah

Good to hear from you Noah, thanks for writing.