Rogue Elements: What's Wrong with the Periodic Table
An article in New Scientist by Celeste Biever (news editor at Nature), Image by Martin Reznik
Weights gone awry, elements changing position, the ructions of relativity – chemistry's iconic chart is far from stable, and no one knows where it will end
IF IMITATION is the sincerest form of flattery, the periodic table has many true admirers. Typefaces, types of meat and even the Muppets have been ordered in its image. For chemists, knowing an element's position in the periodic table, and the company it keeps, is still the most reliable indicator of its properties – and a precious guide in the search for new substances. "It rivals Darwin's Origin of Species in terms of the impact of bringing order out of chaos," says Peter Edwards of the University of Oxford.
The origins of the periodic table lie in the 19th century, when chemists noticed that patterns began to emerge among the known chemical elements when they... click here to continue:
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