In reading an older paper about periodic tables, the author referred to the "lemniscate table of Gooch and Walker" - but didn't provide a figure, and I had to admit lemniscate was an unfamiliar descriptor. (It's not in the abridged Oxford English Dictionary on my iPod, either - so I don't feel all that ignorant!) Even a Google search was not particularly enlightening.
The full OED came to the rescue - "ribbon like", from the Latin for a ribbon. The term dates to the 17th century when Bernoulli used it to describe a set of curves. The term was new, the curves were not - Bernoulli's lemniscate was a special case of a set already described by Cassini.
Once I located a figure of Gooch and Walker's table, I would agree "ribbon-like" is a good description and it is certainly reminiscent of Cassini's figure eight curves (to give credit where credit is due).
Figure of the periodic table from Outlines of inorganic chemistry by Frank Austin Gooch, Claude Frederic Walker, Macmillan:New York, 1905. Figure of Bernoulli's lemniscate is from here.
1 day ago in Variety of Life