Study the Elements with KDE’s Kalzium

I’ve written about a number of chemistry packages in the past
and all of the computational chemistry that you can do in a Linux
environment. But, what is fundamental to chemistry? Why, the elements, of
course. So in this article, I focus on how you can learn more about the elements
that make up everything around you with Kalzium. KDE’s Kalzium is kind of like a periodic table
on steroids. Not only does it have information on each of the elements,
it also has extra functionality to do other types of calculations.

Kalzium should be available within the package repositories for most
distributions. In Debian-based distributions, you can install it with
the command:

sudo apt-get install kalzium

When you start it, you get a simplified view of the classical periodic

Figure 1. The default view is of the classical ordering of the

You can change this overall view either by clicking
the drop-down menu in the top-left side of the window or via
the View→Tables menu item. You can select from five different display
formats. Clicking one of the elements pops open a new window with detailed

Figure 2. Kalzium provides a large number of details for each

The default detail pane is an overview of the
various physical characteristics of the given element. This includes
items like the melting point, electron affinity or atomic mass. Five other
information panes also are available. The atom model provides
a graphical representation of the electron orbitals around the nucleus
of the given atom. The isotopes pane shows a table of values for
each of the known isotopes for the selected element, ordered by neutron
number. This includes things like the atomic mass or the half-life for
radioactive isotopes. The miscellaneous detail pane includes some of the
extra facts and trivia that might be of interest. The spectrum detail pane
shows the emission and absorption spectra, both as a graphical display and
a table of values.
The last detail pane provides a list of
external links where you can learn more about the selected element. This
includes links to Wikipedia, the Jefferson Lab and the Webelements sites.

Figure 3. For those elements that are stable enough, you even can see the
emission and absorption spectra.

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