Field of Science

Table Manners in Nature Chemistry

The second issue of Nature Chemistry appeared online today, with my musings about the shapes the periodic table can take, and why I think chemists like to keep their elements in boxes.

"Chemists have created hundreds of variations in search of the perfect periodic table. The periodic table has been mapped onto spirals, circles, triangles and elephants. The first such “alternative” periodic table, based on a sprial, was proposed by Gustavus Hinrichs of the University of Iowa in 1867, two years before Mendeleev published the forerunner to the current blocked tabular form. Still, open 50 random introductory chemistry texts and it is a fair bet that all 50 of them have IUPAC’s standard periodic table inside, or its generic sister. Chemists are stuck in the box." Read the rest of the column here (requires a subscription...).
Or if my Table Manners are not to your taste, this article in the same issue on syntheses of Moebius molecules might be.


  1. Alternative periodic tables are current issues that students working on their chemistry science fair projects should read more about. It will help them to understand how science fields are evolved as professions.


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