NL 1

The Nagoya City Science Museum, being located in one of the busiest urban centers of Japan, gets most of its visitors arriving by public transportation. Without a car to store their stuff in, most of them are carrying some sort of bag with their personal belongings, plus, in the case of tourists from out of town, any souvenirs they’ve been buying while in the country’s fourth-largest city.

For those who don’t feel like lugging their things around inside the museum, there’s a bank of lockers. Of course, a drab wall of solid gray metal wouldn’t be very visually appealing. At many other tourist attractions in Japan, you’d see a brightly colored mural featuring some local mascot character, but the designers at the Science System went with something a lot more original and appropriate by plastering the chemical symbols of the elements on them.

It may take a second for your brain to register exactly what you’re looking at, since the compartments are numbered in the order of traditional Japanese writing. This means the sequence starts in the upper right corner, increases as you move down, then starts at the top of the next column to the left after you hit the bottom.

▼ Like this

NL 2

Once that clicks, though, you’ll notice that each locker door bears the symbol for the element with the corresponding atomic number, just like on the periodic table that we all learned in chemistry class (and many of us forgot after graduation).

▼ I’m sorry, I know we’ve met somewhere before, but it was all so long ago…

NL 3

For example, locker number 12 has Mg on its door, the symbol for magnesium, which is also written below it in Japanese.

NL 1

While true science buffs grumbled about the arrangement not matching that of the periodic table itself, other Internet commenters were impressed by this unexpected meeting of art and science.

“That is awesome!”
“I wish the shoe box in the entryway of my high school had been like this.”
“Cool! Simple and stylish too…I hope they start selling individual lockboxes like these.”
“I’m putting my stuff in titanium!”
“Iron for me.”

One lasciviously minded individual hypothesized that the most popular locker is probably H. While it scientifically refers to hydrogen, it’s also a Japanese slang word for “sexy,” and we can definitely imagine immature junior high schoolers/Internet writers scrambling to claim what’s nominally the most sensuous locker.

On the other hand, there’s one more locker that we imagine is prime real estate, and it’s just barely visible at the bottom edge of the photo shared by Twitter user Pianist Kantaku. Given the overlap between fans of real science and science fiction comics, we have a hunch that on most days you’ll find someone happily tossing their stuff into locker 25, manganese.

Related: Nagoya City Science Museum
Source: Hamster Sokuho
Top image: Twitter
Insert images: RocketNews24, Chemicool