How Did the Periodic Table of the Elements Originate and Who First Listed the Elements By Atomic Weight?

The discoveries of chemists like Dalton, Lavoisier, and Avogadro concerning atoms and atomic weights made it easier for scientists to detect new elements.

In 1808, John Dalton created a table of the 21 known elements.

By 1860 there were 63 known elements and chemists were beginning to notice similarities in the properties of some of the elements.

Could a table be constructed that would bring a meaningful order to the elements and reveal a pattern to their properties?

The first serious attempt at a table was made by British chemist John Newlands in 1864.

Newlands listed the elements by atomic weight and noticed certain properties recurring every eighth place.

He called it the law of octaves, after the musical term, but his idea was incomplete because the recurrence was limited to a small number of elements.

Newlands was on the right track, but there was one secret he didn’t know about.

It would take a longhaired revolutionary from Siberia called Dmitri Mendeleev to unravel the secret and create the first periodic table of the elements.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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