History of the periodic table

The periodic table is an arrangement of the chemical elements, which are organized on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties. Elements are presented in order of increasing atomic number. The standard form of the table consists of a grid with rows called periods and columns called groups.

The history of the periodic table reflects over two centuries of growth in the understanding of chemical properties, with major contributions made by Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, John Newlands, Julius Lothar Meyer, Dmitri Mendeleev, and Glenn T. Seaborg.[1]

Dalton's symbols of the elements. 1806 Wellcome M0004592
Dalton (1806): listing the known elements by atomic weight
Mendelejevs periodiska system 1871
Mendeleev (1871): tabular ordering, showing periodic behavior
Periodic table (18-col, enwiki), black and white
2016: current form, 118 known elements

Antiquity to the 18th century

A number of physical elements (such as platinum, mercury, tin and zinc) have been known from antiquity, as they are found in their native form and are relatively simple to mine with primitive tools.[2] Around 330 BCE, the Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed that everything is made up of a mixture of one or more roots, an idea that had originally been suggested by the Sicilian philosopher Empedocles. The four roots, which were later renamed as elements by Plato, were earth, water, air and fire. Similar ideas about these four elements also existed in other ancient traditions, such as Indian philosophy.

Hennig Brand

The history of the periodic table is also a history of the discovery of the chemical elements. The first person in history to discover a new element was Hennig Brand, a bankrupt German merchant. Brand tried to discover the Philosopher's Stone — a mythical object that was supposed to turn inexpensive base metals into gold. In 1669 (or later), his experiments with distilled human urine resulted in the production of a glowing white substance, which he called "cold fire" (kaltes Feuer).[3] He kept his discovery secret until 1680, when Robert Boyle rediscovered phosphorus and published his findings. The discovery of phosphorus helped to raise the question of what it meant for a substance to be an element.

In 1661, Boyle defined an element as "those primitive and simple Bodies of which the mixt ones are said to be composed, and into which they are ultimately resolved."[4]

Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier

Lavoisier's Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elementary Treatise of Chemistry), which was written in 1789 and first translated into English by the writer Robert Kerr, is considered to be the first modern textbook about chemistry. Lavoisier defined an element as a substance that cannot be broken down into a simpler substance by a chemical reaction.[5] This simple definition served for a century and lasted until the discovery of subatomic particles. Lavoisier's book contained a list of "simple substances" that Lavoisier believed could not be broken down further, which included oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, mercury, zinc and sulfur, which formed the basis for the modern list of elements. Lavoisier's list also included 'light' and 'caloric', which at the time were believed to be material substances. He classified these substances into metals and non metals. While many leading chemists refused to believe Lavoisier's new revelations, the Elementary Treatise was written well enough to convince the younger generation. However, Lavoisier's descriptions of his elements lack completeness, as he only classified them as metals and non-metals.

19th century

William Prout

In 1815, the English physician and chemist William Prout noticed that atomic weights seemed to be multiples of that of hydrogen.[6]

Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner

In 1817, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, a chemist, began to formulate one of the earliest attempts to classify the elements.[7] In 1829, he found that he could form some of the elements into groups of three, with the members of each group having related properties. He termed these groups triads.[8]

Definition of Triad law:-"Chemically analogous elements arranged in increasing order of their atomic weights formed well marked groups of three called Triads in which the atomic weight of the middle element was found to be generally the arithmetic mean of the atomic weight of the other two elements in the triad.

  1. chlorine, bromine, and iodine
  2. calcium, strontium, and barium
  3. sulfur, selenium, and tellurium
  4. lithium, sodium, and potassium

Alexandre-Emile Béguyer de Chancourtois

Alexandre-Emile Béguyer de Chancourtois, a French geologist, was the first person to notice the periodicity of the elements — similar elements occurring at regular intervals when they are ordered by their atomic weights. In 1862 he devised an early form of periodic table, which he named Vis tellurique (the 'telluric helix'), after the element tellurium, which fell near the center of his diagram.[9][10] With the elements arranged in a spiral on a cylinder by order of increasing atomic weight, de Chancourtois saw that elements with similar properties lined up vertically. His 1863 publication included a chart (which contained ions and compounds,[11] in addition to elements), but his original paper in the Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences used geological rather than chemical terms and did not include a diagram. As a result, de Chancourtois' ideas received little attention until after the work of Dmitri Mendeleev had been published.[12]

John Newlands

Newlands periodiska system 1866
Newlands' law of octaves

In 1864, the English chemist John Newlands classified the sixty-two known elements into eight groups, based on their physical properties.[13][14][15][10]

Newlands noted that many pairs of similar elements existed, which differed by some multiple of eight in mass number, and was the first to assign them an atomic number.[16] When his 'law of octaves' was printed in Chemistry News, likening this periodicity of eights to the musical scale, it was ridiculed by some of his contemporaries. His lecture to the Chemistry Society on 1 March 1866 was not published, the Society defending their decision by saying that such 'theoretical' topics might be controversial.[17]

The importance of Newlands' analysis was eventually recognised by the Chemistry Society with a Gold Medal five years after they recognised Mendeleev's work. It was not until the following century, with Gilbert N. Lewis's valence bond theory (1916) and Irving Langmuir's octet theory of chemical bonding (1919), that the importance of the periodicity of eight would be accepted.[18][19][20] The Royal Chemistry Society acknowledged Newlands' contribution to science in 2008, when they put a Blue Plaque on the house where he was born, which described him as the "discoverer of the Periodic Law for the chemical elements".[16]

He contributed the word 'periodic' in chemistry.

Julius Lothar Meyer

Periodic table Meyer 1864
Julius Lothar Meyer's periodic table, published in "Die modernen Theorien der Chemie" (1864)[21]

Meyer noted, as J. A. R. Newlands did in England, if each element is arranged in the order of their atomic weights, they fall into groups of similar chemical and physical properties repeated at periodic intervals. According to him, if the atomic weights were plotted as ordinates and the atomic volumes as abscissae—the curve obtained a series of maxima and minima—the most electro-positive elements appearing at the peaks of the curve in the order of their atomic weights.

His book, Die modernen Theorien der Chemie,[21] which he began writing in Breslau in 1862 and which was published two years later, contained an early version of the periodic table containing 28 elements, classified elements into six families by their valence—for the first time, elements had been grouped according to their valence. Works on organizing the elements by atomic weight, until then had been stymied by inaccurate measurements of the atomic weights.

He published articles about classification table of the elements in horizontal form (1862, 1864) and vertical form (1870), in which the series of periods are properly ended by an element of the alkaline earth metal group.[22]

In 1869, a few months later than Mendeleev, Meyer published a revised and expanded version of his 1864 table independently, which was similar to that published by Mendeleev (Meyer had been sent a copy of Mendeleev's table earlier; Mendeleev had sent it to many well-known chemists of his day) and a paper showing graphically the periodicity of the elements as a function of atomic weight.

In 1882, both Meyer and Mendeleev received the Davy Medal from the Royal Society in recognition of their work on the Periodic Law.

Dmitri Mendeleev

Mendeleev's periodic table (1869)
Zeitschrift für Chemie (1869, pages 405–6), in which Mendeleev's periodic table is first published outside Russia.
Dmitry Mendeleyev Osnovy Khimii 1869-1871 first periodic table
Mendeleev's 1871 periodic table. Dashes: unknown elements. Group I-VII: modern group 1–2 and 3–7 with transition metals added; some of these extend into a group VIII. Noble gases unknown (and unpredicted).

The Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev arranged the elements by atomic mass, corresponding to relative molar mass. It is sometimes said that he played 'chemical solitaire' on long train journeys, using cards with various facts about the known elements.[23] On March 1 [O.S. February 17] 1869, he put a date on his first table, and sent it for publication.[24] On 18 March [O.S. 6 March] 1869, Mendeleev gave a formal presentation, The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements, to the Russian Chemical Society. In 1869, the table was published in an obscure Russian journal and then republished in a German journal, Zeitschrift für Chemie.[25][26] In it, Mendeleev stated that:

  1. The elements, if arranged according to their atomic mass, exhibit an apparent periodicity of properties.
  2. Elements which are similar as regards to their chemical properties have atomic weights which are either of nearly the same value (e.g., Pt, Ir, Os) or which increase regularly (e.g., K, Rb, Cs).
  3. The arrangement of the elements, or of groups of elements in the order of their atomic masses, corresponds to their so-called valencies, as well as, to some extent, to their distinctive chemical properties; as is apparent among other series in that of Li, Be, B, C, N, O, and F.
  4. The elements which are the most widely diffused have small atomic weights.
  5. The magnitude of the atomic weight determines the character of the element, just as the magnitude of the molecule determines the character of a compound body.
  6. We must expect the discovery of many yet unknown elements – for example, elements analogous to aluminium and silicon – whose atomic weight would be between 65 and 75.
  7. The atomic weight of an element may sometimes be amended by a knowledge of those of its contiguous elements. Thus the atomic weight of tellurium must lie between 123 and 126, and cannot be 128.
  8. Certain characteristic properties of elements can be foretold from their atomic masses.

Scientific benefits of Mendeleev's table

  • It enabled Mendeleev to predict the discovery of new elements and left spaces for them, namely eka-silicon (germanium, discovered in 1885), eka-aluminium (gallium, 1875), and eka-boron (scandium, 1879).[10] Thus, there was no disturbance in the periodic table.
  • It could be used by Mendeleev to point out that some of the atomic weights being used at the time were incorrect.
  • It provided for variance from atomic weight order.

William Odling

In 1864, the English chemist William Odling also drew up a table that was remarkably similar to the table produced by Mendeleev.[27] Odling overcame the tellurium-iodine problem and even managed to get thallium, lead, mercury and platinum into the right groups, which is something that Mendeleev failed to do at his first attempt. Odling failed to achieve recognition, however, since it is suspected that he, as Secretary of the Chemical Society of London, was instrumental in discrediting Newlands' earlier work on the periodic table.[17]

Shortcomings of early versions of the periodic table

  • The table was not able to predict the existence of the noble gases, but did leave spaces for yet-to-be discovered elements. Time proved this method correct. When the entire group of noble gases was discovered, primarily by William Ramsay, he added them to the table as Group 0, without disturbing the basic concept of the periodic table.
  • A single position could not be assigned to hydrogen, which could be placed either in the alkali metals group, the halogens group or separately above the table between boron and carbon.[28]
  • The lanthanides were difficult to fit into the table.[10]

20th century

Frederick Soddy

By 1912 almost 50 different radioactive elements had been found, too many for the periodic table. Frederick Soddy in 1913 found that although they emitted different radiation, many elements were alike in their chemical characteristics so shared the same place on the table.[29] They became known as isotopes, from the Greek eisos topos ("same place").[10][30]

Henry Moseley

In 1914, a year before he was killed in action at Gallipoli, the English physicist Henry Moseley found a relationship between the X-ray wavelength of an element and its atomic number.[31] He was then able to re-sequence the periodic table by nuclear charge, rather than by atomic weight. Before this discovery, atomic numbers were sequential numbers based on an element's atomic weight. Moseley's discovery showed that atomic numbers were in fact based upon experimental measurements.

Using information about their X-ray wavelengths, Moseley placed argon (with an atomic number Z=18) before potassium (Z=19), despite the fact that argon's atomic weight of 39.9 is greater than the atomic weight of potassium (39.1). The new order was in agreement with the chemical properties of these elements, since argon is a noble gas and potassium is an alkali metal. Similarly, Moseley placed cobalt before nickel and was able to explain that tellurium occurs before iodine, without revising the experimental atomic weight of tellurium, as had been proposed by Mendeleev.

Moseley's research showed that there were gaps in the periodic table at atomic numbers 43 and 61, which are now known to be occupied by technetium and promethium respectively.

Glenn T. Seaborg

During his Manhattan Project research in 1943, Glenn T. Seaborg experienced unexpected difficulties in isolating the elements americium and curium. These elements, in addition to the elements from actinium to plutonium, were believed to form a fourth series of transition metals. Seaborg wondered if these elements belonged to a different series, which would explain why their chemical properties, in particular the instability of higher oxidation states, were different from predictions.[32] In 1945, against the advice of colleagues, he proposed a significant change to Mendeleev's table: the actinide series.[33]

Seaborg's actinide concept of heavy element electronic structure, predicting that the actinides form a transition series analogous to the rare earth series of lanthanide elements, is now well accepted and included in the periodic table. The actinide series is the second row of the f-block (5f series). In both the actinide and lanthanide series, an inner electron shell is being filled. The actinide series comprises the elements from actinium to lawrencium. Seaborg's subsequent elaborations of the actinide concept theorized a series of superheavy elements in a transactinide series comprising elements from 104 to 121 and a superactinide series of elements from 122 to 153.[32]

See also


  1. ^ IUPAC article on periodic table Archived 2008-02-13 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Scerri, E. R. (2006). The Periodic Table: Its Story ad Its Significance; New York City, New York; Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Weeks, Mary (1956). Discovery of the Elements (6th ed.). Easton, Pennsylvania, USA: Journal of Chemical Education. p. 122.
  4. ^ Boyle, Robert (1661). The Skeptical Chymist. London, England: J. Crooke. p. 16.
  5. ^ Lavoisier with Robert Kerr, trans. (1790) Elements of Chemistry. Edinburgh, Scotland: William Creech. From p. xxiv: "I shall therefore only add upon this subject, that if, by the term elements, we mean to express those simple and indivisible atoms of which matter is composed, it is extremely probable we know nothing at all about them; but, if we apply the term elements, or principles of bodies, to express our idea of the last point which analysis is capable of reaching, we must admit, as elements, all substances into which we are capable, by any means, to reduce bodies by decomposition. Not that we are entitled to affirm, that these substances we consider as simple may not be compounded of two, or even of a greater number of principles; but, since these principles cannot be separated, or rather since we have not hitherto discovered means of separating them, they act with regard to us as simple substances, and we ought never to suppose them compounded until experiment and observation has proved them to be so."
  6. ^ See:
  7. ^ Wurzer, Ferdinand (1817). "Auszug eines Briefes vom Hofrath Wurzer, Prof. der Chemie zu Marburg" [Excerpt of a letter from Court Advisor Wurzer, Professor of Chemistry at Marburg]. Annalen der Physik (in German). 56: 331–334. Here, Döbereiner found that strontium's properties were intermediate to those of calcium and barium.
  8. ^ Döbereiner, J. W. (1829). "Versuch zu einer Gruppirung der elementaren Stoffe nach ihrer Analogie" [An attempt to group elementary substances according to their analogies]. Annalen der Physik und Chemie. 2nd series (in German). 15: 301–307. For an English translation of this article, see: Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner: "An Attempt to Group Elementary Substances according to Their Analogies" (Lemoyne College (Syracuse, New York, USA))
  9. ^ Beguyer de Chancourtois (1862). "Tableau du classement naturel des corps simples, dit vis tellurique" [Table of the natural classification of elements, called the "telluric helix"]. Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences (in French). 55: 600–601.
  10. ^ a b c d e Ley, Willy (October 1966). "The Delayed Discovery". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 116–127.
  11. ^ Chancourtois, Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de (1863). Vis tellurique. Classement des corps simples ou radicaux, obtenu au moyen d'un système de classification hélicoïdal et numérique (in French). Paris, France: Mallet-Bachelier. 21 pages.
  12. ^ Annales des Mines history page.
  13. ^ See:
  14. ^ in a letter published in Chemistry News in February 1863, according to the Notable Names Data Base
  15. ^ Newlands on classification of elements
  16. ^ a b John Newlands, Chemistry Review, November 2003, pp15-16
  17. ^ a b Shaviv, Giora (2012). The Synthesis of the Elements. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. p. 38. From p. 38: "The reason [for rejecting Newlands' paper, which was] given by Odling, then the president of the Chemical Society, was that they made a rule not to publish theoretical papers, and this on the quite astonishing grounds that such papers lead to a correspondence of controversial character."
  18. ^ Lewis, Gilbert N. (1916). "The atom and the molecule". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 38: 762–785.
  19. ^ Langmuir, Irving (1919). "The structure of atoms and the octet theory of valence". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 5: 252–259. Bibcode:1919PNAS....5..252L. doi:10.1073/pnas.5.7.252. PMC 1091587.
  20. ^ Langmuir, Irving (1919). "The arrangement of electrons in atoms and molecules". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 41 (6): 868–934.
  21. ^ a b Meyer, Julius Lothar; Die modernen Theorien der Chemie (1864); table on page 137, https://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de/de/fs1/object/goToPage/bsb10073411.html?pageNo=147
  22. ^ Boyle, Robert (1661). The Skeptical Chymist. London, England: J. Crooke. p. 16.
  23. ^ Physical Science, Holt Rinehart & Winston (January 2004), page 302 ISBN 0-03-073168-2
  24. ^ Mendeleev, Dmitri (27 July 2018). Периодический закон [The Periodic Law] (in Russian). AST. p. 16. ISBN 978-5-04-124495-8. 17 февраля (1 марта) 1869
  25. ^ Менделеев, Д. (1869). "Соотношение свойств с атомным весом элементов" [Relationship of elements' properties to their atomic weights]. Журнал Русского Химического Общества (Journal of the Russian Chemical Society) (in Russian). 1: 60–77.
  26. ^ Mendeleev, Dmitri (1869). "Ueber die Beziehungen der Eigenschaften zu den Atomgewichten der Elemente" [On the relations of elements' properties to their atomic weights]. Zeitschrift für Chemie. 12: 405–406.
  27. ^ See:
  28. ^ "Reed Magazine: The Alumni Association: Around the World in 80 Seconds". reed.edu. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  29. ^ See:
    • Soddy, Frederick (1913). "Radioactivity". Annual Reports on the Progress of Chemistry. 10: 262–288.
    • Soddy, Frederick (28 February 1913). "The radio-elements and the periodic law". The Chemical News. 107 (2779): 97–99.
  30. ^ Soddy first used the word "isotope" in: Soddy, Frederick (4 December 1913). "Intra-atomic charge". Nature. 92 (2301): 399–400. Bibcode:1913Natur..92..399S. doi:10.1038/092399c0. See p. 400.
  31. ^ Moseley, H.G.J. (1914). "The high-frequency spectra of the elements". Philosophical Magazine. 6th series. 27: 703–713.
  32. ^ a b Clark, D.L. (2009). The Discovery of Plutonium Reorganized the Periodic Table and Aided the Discovery of New Elements (PDF) (Report). Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  33. ^ Clark, D.L.; Hobart, D.E. (2000). "Reflections on the Legacy of a Legend: Glenn T. Seaborg, 1912–1999" (PDF). Los Alamos Science. 26: 56–61.

External links

Actinide concept

In nuclear chemistry, the actinide concept proposed that the actinides form a second inner transition series homologous to the lanthanides. Its origins stem from observation of lanthanide-like properties in transuranic elements in contrast to the distinct complex chemistry of previously known actinides. Glenn T. Seaborg, one of the researchers who synthesized transuranic elements, proposed the actinide concept in 1944 as an explanation for observed deviations and a hypothesis to guide future experiments. It was accepted shortly thereafter, resulting in the placement of a new actinide series comprising elements 89 (actinium) to 103 (lawrencium) below the lanthanides in Dmitri Mendeleev's periodic table of the elements.

Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois

Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois (20 January 1820 – 14 November 1886) was a French geologist and mineralogist who was the first to arrange the chemical elements in order of atomic weights, doing so in 1862. De Chancourtois only published his paper, but did not publish his actual graph with the irregular arrangement. Although his publication was significant, it was ignored by chemists as it was written in terms of geology. It was Dmitri Mendeleev's table published in 1869 that became most recognized. De Chancourtois was also a professor of mine surveying, and later geology at the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris. He also was the Inspector of Mines in Paris, and was widely responsible for implementing many mine safety regulations and laws during the time.


Argon is a chemical element with the symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv). It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor (which averages about 4000 ppmv, but varies greatly), 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide (400 ppmv), and more than 500 times as abundant as neon (18 ppmv). Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.

Nearly all of the argon in the Earth's atmosphere is radiogenic argon-40, derived from the decay of potassium-40 in the Earth's crust. In the universe, argon-36 is by far the most common argon isotope, as it is the most easily produced by stellar nucleosynthesis in supernovas.

The name "argon" is derived from the Greek word ἀργόν, neuter singular form of ἀργός meaning "lazy" or "inactive", as a reference to the fact that the element undergoes almost no chemical reactions. The complete octet (eight electrons) in the outer atomic shell makes argon stable and resistant to bonding with other elements. Its triple point temperature of 83.8058 K is a defining fixed point in the International Temperature Scale of 1990.

Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Argon is mostly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high-temperature industrial processes where ordinarily unreactive substances become reactive; for example, an argon atmosphere is used in graphite electric furnaces to prevent the graphite from burning. Argon is also used in incandescent, fluorescent lighting, and other gas-discharge tubes. Argon makes a distinctive blue-green gas laser. Argon is also used in fluorescent glow starters.

Atomic number

The atomic number or proton number (symbol Z) of a chemical element is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom. It is identical to the charge number of the nucleus. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element. In an uncharged atom, the atomic number is also equal to the number of electrons.

The sum of the atomic number Z and the number of neutrons, N, gives the mass number A of an atom. Since protons and neutrons have approximately the same mass (and the mass of the electrons is negligible for many purposes) and the mass defect of nucleon binding is always small compared to the nucleon mass, the atomic mass of any atom, when expressed in unified atomic mass units (making a quantity called the "relative isotopic mass"), is within 1% of the whole number A.

Atoms with the same atomic number Z but different neutron numbers N, and hence different atomic masses, are known as isotopes. A little more than three-quarters of naturally occurring elements exist as a mixture of isotopes (see monoisotopic elements), and the average isotopic mass of an isotopic mixture for an element (called the relative atomic mass) in a defined environment on Earth, determines the element's standard atomic weight. Historically, it was these atomic weights of elements (in comparison to hydrogen) that were the quantities measurable by chemists in the 19th century.

The conventional symbol Z comes from the German word Zahl meaning number, which, before the modern synthesis of ideas from chemistry and physics, merely denoted an element's numerical place in the periodic table, whose order is approximately, but not completely, consistent with the order of the elements by atomic weights. Only after 1915, with the suggestion and evidence that this Z number was also the nuclear charge and a physical characteristic of atoms, did the word Atomzahl (and its English equivalent atomic number) come into common use in this context.

Döbereiner's triads

In the history of the periodic table, Döbereiner's triads were an early attempt to sort the elements into some logical order by their physical properties. In 1817, a letter reported Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner's observations of the alkaline earths; namely, that strontium had properties that were intermediate to those of calcium and barium. By 1829, Döbereiner had found other groups of three elements (hence "triads") whose physical properties were similarly related. He also noted that some quantifiable properties of elements (e.g. atomic weight and density) in a triad followed a trend whereby the value of the middle element in the triad would be exactly or nearly predicted by taking the arithmetic mean of values for that property of the other two elements.

Edward G. Mazurs

Edward G. Mazurs (1894–1983) was a chemist who wrote a history of the periodic system of the chemical elements which is still considered a "classic book on the history of the periodic table". Originally self-published as Types of graphic representation of the periodic system of chemical elements (1957), it was reviewed by the ACS in 1958 as "the most complete survey of the range of human imagination in representing graphically the Mendeleev periodic law."A revised "centenary" edition covering a full 100 years of periodic tables was republished under the title Graphic Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years in 1974. Mazurs provided a comprehensive analysis and classification of periodic tables, listing and classifying over 700 periodic tables. He recommended Charles Janet's left-step system and suggested that it could be expanded into three dimensions.

History of chemistry

The history of chemistry represents a time span from ancient history to the present. By 1000 BC, civilizations used technologies that would eventually form the basis of the various branches of chemistry. Examples include extracting metals from ores, making pottery and glazes, fermenting beer and wine, extracting chemicals from plants for medicine and perfume, rendering fat into soap, making glass,

and making alloys like bronze.

The protoscience of chemistry, alchemy, was unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations. However, by performing experiments and recording the results, alchemists set the stage for modern chemistry. The distinction began to emerge

when a clear differentiation was made between chemistry and alchemy by Robert Boyle in his work The Sceptical Chymist (1661). While both alchemy and chemistry are concerned with matter and its transformations, chemists are seen as applying scientific method to their work.

Chemistry is considered to have become an established science with the work of Antoine Lavoisier, who developed a law of conservation of mass that demanded careful measurement and quantitative observations of chemical phenomena. The history of chemistry is intertwined with the history of thermodynamics, especially through the work of Willard Gibbs.

Index of physics articles (H)

The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.

To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.

John Newlands (chemist)

John Alexander Reina Newlands (26 November 1837 – 29 July 1898) was a British chemist who worked concerning the periodicity of elements.

Julius Lothar Meyer

Julius Lothar Meyer (19 August 1830 – 11 April 1895) was a German chemist. He was one of the pioneers in developing the first periodic table of chemical elements. Both Mendeleev and Meyer worked with Robert Bunsen. He never used his first given name, and was known throughout his life simply as Lothar Meyer.

List of English inventions and discoveries

English inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques invented, innovated or discovered, partially or entirely, in England by a person from England (that is, someone born in England – including to non-English parents – or born abroad with at least one English parent and who had the majority of their education or career in England). Often, things discovered for the first time are also called inventions and in many cases, there is no clear line between the two.

The following is a list of inventions, innovations or discoveries known or generally recognised to be English.

Outline of chemistry

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to chemistry:

Chemistry – science of atomic matter (matter that is composed of chemical elements), especially its chemical reactions, but also including its properties, structure, composition, behavior, and changes as they relate the chemical reactions. Chemistry is centrally concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds.

Periodic systems of small molecules

Periodic systems of molecules are charts of molecules similar to the periodic table of the elements. Construction of such charts was initiated in the early 20th century and is still ongoing.

It is commonly believed that the periodic law, represented by the periodic chart, is echoed in the behavior of molecules, at least small molecules. For instance, if one replaces any one of the atoms in a triatomic molecule with a rare gas atom, there will be a drastic change in the molecule’s properties. Several goals could be accomplished by constructing an explicit representation of this periodic law as manifested in molecules: (1) a classification scheme for the vast number of molecules that exist, starting with small ones having just a few atoms, for use as a teaching aid and tool for archiving data, (2) forecasting data for molecular properties based on the classification scheme, and (3) a sort of unity with the periodic chart and the periodic system of fundamental particles.

Periodic table

The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of elements, is a tabular display of the chemical elements, which are arranged by atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties. The structure of the table shows periodic trends. The seven rows of the table, called periods, generally have metals on the left and non-metals on the right. The columns, called groups, contain elements with similar chemical behaviours. Six groups have accepted names as well as assigned numbers: for example, group 17 elements are the halogens; and group 18 are the noble gases. Also displayed are four simple rectangular areas or blocks associated with the filling of different atomic orbitals.

The organization of the periodic table can be used to derive relationships between the various element properties, and also to predict chemical properties and behaviours of undiscovered or newly synthesized elements. Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev published the first recognizable periodic table in 1869, developed mainly to illustrate periodic trends of the then-known elements. He also predicted some properties of unidentified elements that were expected to fill gaps within the table. Most of his forecasts proved to be correct. Mendeleev's idea has been slowly expanded and refined with the discovery or synthesis of further new elements and the development of new theoretical models to explain chemical behaviour. The modern periodic table now provides a useful framework for analyzing chemical reactions, and continues to be widely used in chemistry, nuclear physics and other sciences.

The elements from atomic numbers 1 (hydrogen) through 118 (oganesson) have been discovered or synthesized, completing seven full rows of the periodic table. The first 94 elements all occur naturally, though some are found only in trace amounts and a few were discovered in nature only after having first been synthesized. Elements 95 to 118 have only been synthesized in laboratories or nuclear reactors. The synthesis of elements having higher atomic numbers is currently being pursued: these elements would begin an eighth row, and theoretical work has been done to suggest possible candidates for this extension. Numerous synthetic radionuclides of naturally occurring elements have also been produced in laboratories.

Periodic trends

Periodic Trends are specific patterns in the properties of chemical elements that are revealed in the periodic table of elements. Major periodic trends include electronegativity, ionization energy, electron affinity, atomic radii, ionic radius, metallic character, and chemical reactivity.

Periodic trends arise from the changes in the atomic structure of the chemical elements within their respective periods (horizontal rows) and groups in the periodic table. These law enable the chemical elements to be organized in the periodic table based on their atomic structures and properties. Due to the periodic trends the unknown properties of any element can be partially know.

Some exceptions to these trends exist, such as that of ionization energy in Groups 3 and 6.

The Disappearing Spoon

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, is a 2010 book by science reporter Sam Kean. The book was first published in hardback on July 12, 2010 through Little, Brown and Company and was released in paperback on June 6, 2011 through Little, Brown and Company's imprint Back Bay Books.

The Mystery of Matter (film)

The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements is a 2014 American documentary film, which premiered nationwide on August 19, 2015. The PBS film, in three-episodes of one hour each, was directed by Stephen Lyons and Muffie Meyer.

The film, which took ten years to make, describes the search for the basic chemical elements that form matter by focusing on the lives and times of seven scientific visionaries. Hosted by actor Michael Emerson, the film depicts the creative process of the scientists, with actors describing the process of discovery in the scientists' own words and reenacting their major discoveries using replicas of their original laboratory equipment.

Timeline of chemical element discoveries

The discovery of the 118 chemical elements known to exist as of 2019 is presented in chronological order. The elements are listed generally in the order in which each was first defined as the pure element, as the exact date of discovery of most elements cannot be accurately determined. There are plans to synthesise more elements, and it is not known how many elements are possible.

Each element's name, atomic number, year of first report, name of the discoverer, and notes related to the discovery are listed.

William Odling

William Odling, FRS (5 September 1829 in Southwark, London – 17 February 1921 in Oxford) was an English chemist who contributed to the development of the periodic table.

In the 1860s Odling, like many chemists, was working towards classifying the elements, an effort that would eventually lead to the periodic table of elements. He was intrigued by atomic weights and the periodic occurrence of chemical properties. William Odling and Lothar Meyer drew up tables similar, but with improvements on, Dmitri Mendeleev's original table. Odling drew up a table of elements using repeating units of seven elements, which bears a striking resemblance to Mendeleev's first table. The groups are horizontal, the elements are in order of increasing atomic weight and there are vacant slots for undiscovered ones. In addition, Odling overcame the tellurium-iodine problem and he even managed to get thallium, lead, mercury and platinum in the right groups - something that Mendeleev failed to do at his first attempt.

Odling failed to achieve recognition, however, since it is suspected that he, as Secretary of the Chemical Society of London, was instrumental in discrediting John Alexander Reina Newlands' efforts at getting his own periodic table published. One such unrecognised aspect was for the suggestion he, Odling, made in a lecture he gave at the Royal Institution in 1855 entitled The Constitution of Hydrocarbons in which he proposed a methane type for carbon (Proceedings of the Royal Institution, 1855, vol 2, p. 63-66). Perhaps influenced by Odling's paper, August Kekulé made a similar suggestion in 1857, then in a subsequent paper later that same year proposed that carbon is a tetravalent element.

Periodic table forms
Sets of elements
See also

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