Chemistry is a branch of science, which studies matter, its properties, various reactions associated with it, and how does it interact with energy. The importance of chemistry is widespread all around the globe since it is essential for creating various products, mostly those items we use every day.
Throughout the years, chemistry evolved from the ancient art of purification of certain materials, called alchemy. The development of chemistry became a milestone to scientists, which helped to study further the composition of an object. Today, chemistry is vital to various industries, including manufacturing goods, as well as in the medical field.
Moreover, chemistry didn’t evolve to what it is today without the presence of the periodic table.
The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of elements, showcases the chemical elements, organized according to their atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties. The use of the periodic table heavily contributed to the evolution of modern chemistry.
However, the periodic table also comes with a history of its own, which we can trace back to the 19th century. Its concept gained the interest of many scientists who devoted to the advancement of chemistry.
In this article, we are going to look into the history of the periodic table – when and how it was formed and who invented it?
The History of the Periodic Table
The periodic table doesn’t have its perfect format first. Similar to other inventions, the periodic table came a long way and gradually improved throughout the years.
Several scientists contributed to improving the periodic table. However, there is only one scientist who often gets the credit for inventing the periodic table.
The first scientist that created the first version of the periodic table was the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.
Mendeleev did not just work on the periodic table. He also studied the basic principles of chemistry, which he wrote in his book – Basic Principles of Chemistry, published in 1870. During the time, there were already a lot of elements known to the scientific world. A number of scientists attempted to classify and arrange them, including Johann Dobereiner, Antoine Lavoisier, John Newlands, and Lothar Meyer.
Mendeleev came across the study of Dobereiner and Newlands. Their studies have similarly concluded that the properties of elements have a close relationship based on their atomic weight.
Because of this conclusion, Mendeleev arranged the sixty-three known elements according to its atomic weight in the ascending order, which he classified into seven groups. It was the early version of the periodic table, which he published in 1869 – and revise it two years later.
However, many scientists are in contrast to Mendeleev’s design of the periodic table, in which they mentioned that there are discrepancies in the table. One factor that made Mendeleev received flak was that he assigned some elements in places not corresponding to their atomic weights, as well as some spaces blank. Mendeleev then argued that those blank spaces were for elements that were yet to be discovered, which he even predicted the properties of some of them.
Interestingly, years later, much of Mendeleev’s predictions proved to be right. In a span of twenty years, the elements supposedly placed on the blank squares of the periodic table were discovered, and their properties do have a resemblance to Mendeleev’s prediction. Furthermore, William Ramsay discovered the noble gases, which also found a place in the table as a special column.
Throughout the years, several other discoveries led to the improvement of the periodic table, which includes the discovery of Henry Mosley. Mosley later discovered that the properties of elements were based on the atomic number rather than the atomic mass – a conclusion which made him rearrange the periodic table.
Glenn Seaborg created one significant change in the history of the periodic table. It was when he proposed the induction of the newly discovered superheavy elements, known as Lanthanides and Actinides. These elements found a place in the table, which creates the modern periodic table. According to the discovery of new elements, it is still changing.
The completion of the periodic table paved its way throughout history. And today, we can attribute its usefulness to the scientists who conducted researches and made discoveries to it.