There was always that one kid in school who could name every element on the periodic table. At the time we found them kind of annoying, but, looking back on it now, we’re a little jealous! It is a pretty cool thing to be able to do, and it certainly would have made chem class more fun! Created in 1869, the periodic table is a large table displaying the numbers and arrangements of all the chemical elements.
The table has become a staple in classrooms across the world for years and has helped students out countless times. We know plenty about the table, such as the fact that there are 118 elements, and that they all have different numbers and symbols, however, there is also plenty we don’t know. Here are some amazing things we bet you never knew about the most important table in science.
It was popularised by a Russian
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev is widely credited as being the guy who created the periodic table. While teaching at the University of St. Petersburg, Mendeleev came up with the table as a way of illustrating trends in the properties of known elements. He also sought to accommodate unknown elements, and predicted, correctly, that they would fill the gaps in the table. Now, while Mendeleev is regarded as the inventor, he technically isn’t. While it’s true that he did create a table, and his table was the first to gain attention and credibility in the science world, he wasn’t the first person to start trying to group elements by their periodic properties.
Natural vs. Man-Made
All the elements on the table are sorted into an order according to their properties, making it easier to understand them. 94 of the elements exist naturally, though some are only found in nature in trace amounts. Numbers 95 to 118; that is Americium through to Oganesson, are actually man-made and were synthesized in laboratories. We just assumed that every element on the table was an element found in nature! And, apparently, there are attempts to further synthesize the elements with large atomic numbers.
There’s a Solitaire link
It might surprise you to learn that the periodic table is linked to, and influenced by, the card game Solitaire! Mendeleev was apparently very fond of card games, and, in particular, Solitaire, and he decided to use the format of the game to help bring order to his table. So, what he did was he set out sorting all the elements into theoretical suits, based on the similar properties they had. Within these groups he then ordered them by their individual weights, making them group together in a fashion similar to the suits in Solitaire.
There could be more
It’s important to remember that elements are certainly not created or discovered in the order of their atomic number. As such, we could well see more elements added to the table soon, but they may not necessarily follow the order we would think. For instance, the hypothetical element 120, Unbinilium, is currently being worked on at the moment as even though we know it must exist, it has never actually been synthesized. This will certainly wind up changing the appearance of the table.
The periodic table is a fascinating creation and one that plays a crucial role in the world of modern science. It’s important to understand the way the table works, as well as why it matters so much. And the way of achieving this knowledge is to study the table. We may well find that, in a few years time, the number of elements in the table increases well beyond 118; though some believe it cannot possibly go above 137.