The Vanadium Night Thread

Following through on a threat from yesterday evening, here is part one in a hypothetically 118-part series on the chemical elements. We’re going to start you off with vanadium, subject of a film so good it’s not even on IMDb.

For those afraid to watch the movie because it’s so intense, here’s a summary. A balding, bespectacled man who might as well be named Doctor Scientist walks the viewer through the periodic table, paying special attention to (wait for it) vanadium. At the end he says it’s a good example of transition metals, which may have been his way of getting out of making 26 more films exactly like this one.

Vanadium is used in steel alloys. I once had a spatula made of vanadium steel. It was corroded into uselessness by dissolved chemicals in my tap water. I tried not to drink too much of the water in that town.

Like other middle-of-the-table elements, vanadium tends to form colored compounds (as opposed to whitish ones), a fact I found unironically fascinating. At one point, the camera zooms in on a Petri dish and Doctor Scientist intones, “Here is a sample of metallic vanadium. Notice its luster.” The contents of the dish look like gravel. I’m waiting for the Criterion remastered edition of Vanadium: A Transition Element that justifies its use of color film.


  • Doctor Scientist’s real name is Professor Robert C. Brasted, a fact you will forget immediately.
  • Vanadium: A Transition Element does not pass the Bechdel Test.
  • Mostly Dogme 95-compliant, though. (The only rule I know for sure they broke is that the director is credited.)


  • I miss that spatula.

Those wishing to learn more dope vanadium facts can do so from Theo Gray’s collection of photos and stories here. Those wishing to shitpost need merely scroll down.