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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 28 (2023) pp 80-82

Wakanda Forever: Vibranium and the 5g Subshell

Sibrina N. Collins†,*, LaVetta Appleby, Darryl Boyd§, Zachary Thammavongsy††

†Lawrence Technological University, College of Arts and Sciences, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, scollins@ltu.edu; ‡Lawrence Technological University, Department of Natural Sciences, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075; §Science Made Simple, LLC, 3002 Gallop Way, Fort Washington, MD 20744; ††Chapman University, Schmid College of Science and Technology, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866
Received January 31, 2023. Accepted April 10, 2023.

Published: 26 April 2023

Abstract. Superhero films provide a unique opportunity to engage students with actual science content in the classroom. Vibranium [Vb], the fictional element featured in Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and the newly released Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was used for a fun general chemistry extra credit assignment to predict possible values of l and mlfor element 125, a superheavy element located in the 8th period of the periodic table. There were 39 students enrolled in two sections of general chemistry, with 71% (28/39) completing the assignment. Specifically, 57% (16/28) of students provided correct values for both l and ml, or either l or ml. The new film was also used to engage chemists on social media to participate in a Vb pin challenge to propose where Vb would fit in an expanded periodic table of elements. The winners proposed superheavy elements 130 and 161, which are located in the 5g and 7d blocks, respectively. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also provides a critical lesson of persistence in chemistry and learning from failed synthetic experiments.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; periodicity/periodic table; minorities in chemistry; quantum numbers; communication/writing; atomic properties/structure; superheavy elements

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: scollins@ltu.edu)

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