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International Year of the Periodic Table

The Science History Institute joins the United Nations in celebrating 2019 as the International Year of the Periodic Table.

Marking the 150th anniversary of one of the most significant achievements in science, the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT2019) provides an ideal opportunity for the Institute to showcase our collections, programs and events, and research activities, and to engage in a global conversation about the importance of science. Join the celebration by following #IYPT2019 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


In 1869 Russian chemist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834–1907)—recognized as the father of the periodic table—created a simple chart categorizing the elements, which he included in his chemistry textbook titled Osnovy khimii (Principles of Chemistry). What set Mendeleev’s table apart from those of other chemists was not his organization of the 63 elements known at the time but his prediction that some elements were missing.

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Periodic Table

Mendeleev’s periodic table from his textbook Osnovy khimii. 📷 Science History Institute

While ordering the elements by atomic weight, Mendeleev noticed patterns that revealed what came to be known as the periodic law. This discovery allowed him to accurately predict the existence of the yet-unknown elements and their location on the table. When gallium and germanium were discovered in 1875 and 1886, respectively, they fit perfectly into the corresponding missing spaces. There are now 118 elements on the periodic table, including mendelevium (chemical symbol Md and atomic number 101), identified in 1955 and named after Mendeleev.

Collection Highlights

Check out some of the (literal) twists on the periodic table found in our collections.

 

 
Periodic Round Table

This periodic table game looks like a multi-layered cake, with eight wooden layers that sit on top of one another and can be rotated. Layers are divided into chemical elements with engraved element name and number.

📷 Science History Institute

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Periodic Tables in Style of Spiral with Eight Radii

Two graphic representations of the periodic table of chemical elements depicted as a spiral with eight radii, ca. 1957.

📷 Science History Institute

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The Elements According to Relative Abundance

A periodic chart depicting the relative abundance of the elements, 1970.

📷 Science History Institute

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3-D Model of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table

This wooden model of the periodic table was built by chemist Edward G. Mazurs, ca. 1974, and is included in his collection of periodic systems.

📷 Science History Institute

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Periodic Table in Style of Helix with Different Sizes of Revolutions

Graphic representation of the periodic table of chemical elements in the style of a helix with different sizes of revolutions for 2, 6, 10, and 14 elements, ca. 1957.

📷 Science History Institute

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The Chemical Elements and Their Periodic Relationships

From the Edward G. Mazurs Collection of Periodic Systems, 1782–1974.

📷 Science History Institute

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Periodic Table in Style of Spiral with Different Sizes of Revolutions

Graphic representation of the periodic table of chemical elements in the style of a spiral with different sizes of revolutions, ca. 1957.

📷 Science History Institute

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Chart of Electronegativities—Atomic and Ionic Radii

From the Edward G. Mazurs Collection of Periodic Systems, 1782–1974.

📷 Science History Institute

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Periodic Table in Style of Zigzag

Graphic representation of the periodic table of chemical elements as a two-sized zigzag, ca. 1957.

📷 Science History Institute

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Spiral Periodic Chart

From the Edward G. Mazurs Collection of Periodic Systems, 1782–1974.

📷 Science History Institute

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Periodic Round Table


This periodic table game looks like a multi-layered cake, with eight wooden layers that sit on top of one another and can be rotated. Layers are divided into chemical elements with engraved element name and number.

📷 Science History Institute

Learn more about this image.