The President's Badge of Office
The badge is in the form of a spoked wheel, with the standing figure of Joseph Priestley depicted in enamel, mainly in red and blue, on a hexagonal medallion in the centre. The rim of the wheel is gold, and the twelve spokes are of non-tarnishable metals. The metals used are: palladium, nickel, titanium, iridium, niobium, tungsten, platinum, molybdenum, tantalum, rhodium, zirconium and cobalt. The symmetrical arrangement takes account of the slightly different colours of the metals. The chemical symbol of each metal is engraved on the gold ring at the point of contact with the metal.
The badge is suspended from a collarette, in the form of a wide ribbon with one inner and two outer lengthwise bands. The inner band is of nylon, the outer strips of cellulose acetate, and the weft of viscose. The whole ribbon is dyed with mauveine.
Every component of the badge and the collarette has a special chemical significance. The figure of Priestley, who discovered oxygen, sits in a hexagon symbolic of benzene and aromatic chemistry. The metals of the spokes and the ring, and the enamels at the centre represent inorganic chemistry. The materials of the collarette are early synthetic fibres, and mauveine is the earliest of the synthetic dyes.