Search: Periodic Table
It's great to see a new book about the periodic table and this one is written by Eric Scerri, a world authority on the periodic table! Dr. Eric Scerri is a leading philosopher of science specializing in the history and philosophy of the periodic table. He is also the founder and editor in chief of the international journal Foundations of Chemistry and is a full-time lecturer at UCLA where he regularly teaches classes of 350 chemistry students as well as classes in history and philosophy of science. You can buy this book from our WebElements Amazon Store or our WebElements Amazon UK Store.
The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance
The periodic table is one of the most potent icons in science. It lies at the core of chemistry and embodies the most fundamental principles of the field. The one definitive text on the development of the periodic table by van Spronsen (1969), has been out of print for a considerable time. The present book provides a successor to van Spronsen, but goes further in giving an evaluation of the extent to which modern physics has, or has not, explained the periodic system. The book is written in a lively style to appeal to experts and interested lay-persons alike.
The Periodic Table begins with an overview of the importance of the periodic table and of the elements and it examines the manner in which the term 'element' has been interpreted by chemists and philosophers. The book then turns to a systematic account of the early developments that led to the classification of the elements including the work of Lavoisier, Boyle and Dalton and Cannizzaro. The precursors to the periodic system, like Döbereiner and Gmelin, are discussed. In chapter 3 the discovery of the periodic system by six independent scientists is examined in detail.
Two chapters are devoted to the discoveries of Mendeleev, the leading discoverer, including his predictions of new elements and his accommodation of already existing elements. Chapters 6 and 7 consider the impact of physics including the discoveries of radioactivity and isotopy and successive theories of the electron including Bohr's quantum theoretical approach. Chapter 8 discusses the response to the new physical theories by chemists such as Lewis and Bury who were able to draw on detailed chemical knowledge to correct some of the early electronic configurations published by Bohr and others.
Chapter 9 provides a critical analysis of the extent to which modern quantum mechanics is, or is not, able to explain the periodic system from first principles. Finally, chapter 10 considers the way that the elements evolved following the Big Bang and in the interior of stars. The book closes with an examination of further chemical aspects including lesser known trends within the periodic system such as the knight's move relationship and secondary periodicity, as well at attempts to explain such trends.
Scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston have shipped pieces of the Genesis polished aluminium collector to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, marking the first distribution of a Genesis scientific sample from JSC since the science canister arrived there Oct. 4, 2004. The sample, the first to be allocated for Genesis early science analysis, may hold important evidence about the overall composition of the sun.
While much of the solar wind is hydrogen, it is hoped that Genesis captured samples of many elements in the periodic table. An analysis of these elements will help to determine the sun's composition in detail. Several important Genesis science objectives will be investigated as part of the Early Science Return, including studies of noble gas isotopes in bulk solar wind and nitrogen isotopes.
This picture is a wordle. This shows the chemical elements in proportion to pages viewed for each on the WebElements periodic table web site. Hydrogen is the most viewed element. The question is, I suppose, is whether any useful information is conveyed? You can see this wordle and others at wordle.net
GoElemental! is an interactive open-air project in the city of Bath in the UK based around the periodic table of elements 6pm - 9pm, from the 17-19th December 2004. It is at St Michael's Square, opposite the Little Theatre Cinema, Bath, BA1 1SP, UK.
The work takes the format of a three-day interactive animation, to be projected onto a wall opposite the Little Cinema in St Michael's Square. Using their mobile phones, the audience will be able to text an element's name to a number provided at the show to find out where that element is used and what it does. On receiving the request, the projection will change and show a humorous or exciting animation of their chosen element.
GoElemental intends to whet people's curiosity about the scientific chemical elements, and introduce them to their everyday uses in an accessible and fun way. The idea behind the project is to spark a sense of wonder about the world around us.
GoElemental has been developed by Kerry Bradshaw, an MA student at Bath Spa University college, in collaboration with James Grierson from the Science department at Oxford Community school, and Peter Bradshaw, based in San Francisco, USA.
The Mendeleev Periodic Table
This table shows the form of Mendeleev's Periodic Table of the chemical elements as published in 1872. The heading "Reihen" means "Row" and the heading "Gruppe" means "Group". The symbols R2O and RH4, etc., are written in the style of the time which uses superscripts to denote the number of atoms in molecules rather than the current style which uses subscripts. The gaps marked with hyphens ("-") represent chemical elements deduced by Mendeleev as existing but unknown in 1872. He was able to predict with considerable success the properties of some of the missing chemical elements such as germanium.
|8||Cs=133||Ba=137||?Di=138||?Ce=140||-||-||-||- - - -|
|12||-||-||-||Th=231||-||U=240||-||- - - -|
Here is a list of the elements sorted by alphabetically by element name.
In the standard form of the periodic table the s-block, p-block, and d-block elements are organised into 18 vertical columns called groups. These are labelled from 1 to 18 under current IUPAC numenclature.
Earlier labelling schemes (Trivial Group names)
For historical reasons some Groups have special names. Terms such as the "alkali metals" are in very common use whereas the term "pnictogens" is very much less common. Some of these special names are listed in the Table.
|2||Alakine earth metals|
|8/9/10||Platinum Group Metals|
|18||Noble Gases, Inert Gases|
In addition the elements 57-71 (lanthanum-lutetium) are referred to as the lanthanoids (lanthanides) and the elements 89-103 (actinium-lawrencium) are referred to as the actinoids (actinides). The elements Sc, Y, and the lanthanoids are sometimes referred to as the rare earths.
The s-, p-, and d-blocks contain a total of 18 groups. The latest recommendations from IUPAC (the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) require that these be labelled 1 - 18 from left to right. This is a good recommendation in the sense that it is at least unambiguous.
Confusion in labelling schemes
There are two other ways of labelling the groups, and both use labels 1-8 (often in Roman numeral format) with further A and B labels. Unfortunately there is enormous confusion here. The two schemes are shown in the table below, underneath the new IUPAC scheme in the first row. It is easy to see the origins of the confusion!
One of these systems is more common in America and the other in Europe but there is really only room for one convention on a small planet, which is where the IUPAC systems scores. These days most new books are printed with the IUPAC labels, but often one of the older conventions is given as well.
The point about confusion is important. If you really must use one of the two older formats, then you must define which you are using. Otherwise it's not clear whether Group 3B refers to the boron group or to the scandium group.