The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance by Eric Scerri

Did a Frenchman beat Mendeleev to the periodic table? ‘Credit for the periodic table of the elements generally goes to Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, but a specialist in the history and philosophy of chemistry says the Russian chemist probably peeked at the work of predecessors.
In his new book, “The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance,” Eric Scerri says that six now obscure scientists came up with periodic tables in the 1860s, before Mendeleev sketched out the basis of his version of the table, which graphically lays out the elements and their properties, on the back of an invitation in 1869.
The first was a French geologist named Alexandre Emile Béguyer de Chancourtois, but his publisher was unable to publish the complex diagram of the periodic table that he submitted with the article, according to Scerri, a chemist at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Although Mendeleev said the idea for the table came to him in a dream one night during a time when he toiled over a textbook, the Russian probably had a peek at Chancourtois’ work.’ [Read the whole article]

Related: Triple Point: Periodic Tables
Tags: Periodic Table, Mendeleev, Eric Scerri


  1. Your choice from Eric’s many cogent arguments has pinpointed the idea that led me to the replacement of the periodic table paradigm: from the common 2D to the more accurate and teachable 3D – which I later discovered was the form of the first periodic table.
    See my Q.& A. at my website, which seeks to promote this view.
    All the best,

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