Scientific Discovery of the Periodic Table

in #sciencelast year

One of the things that a scientist must do is share findings with the scientific community. In “A Puzzle with Many Pieces,” it states, “In 1860, 150 of the most prominent chemists in Europe gathered together in the German city of Karlsruhe to discuss how they could make their atomic weights and chemical terminology more consistent” (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 1). This is consistent throughout the article. During the conference, scientists were able to discuss findings from the past, another example that science must be studied and developed as a community. This led to inspiring an attendee, Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev.

While tasked to write volume two of a two volume series on Chemistry, Mendeleev found he had written too much about too few of the known chemicals of the day. In order to write the second volume and include all the remaining chemicals, he had to come up with a relationship between them, which ultimately led him to creating a hypothesis that certain groupings of chemicals might be grouped based on their atomic weight (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 3). This is representative of science because one must have an idea that can be tested, or a hypothesis, in science. This idea was based on the natural environment, as well, in that it related to known chemicals in existence. After coming up with idea, he shared it via writing an article. By sharing his findings with the scientific community, he again is practicing science. This allows others to also test his findings to benefit the whole. His findings were in part, based on previous scientists’ findings such as Newland, Dobereiner, and de Chancourois (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 3). This is another match in science, building upon the ideas of previous scientific findings.

Later, where Mendeleev had left holes in his periodic table, others discovered elements that filled those holes. It seemed there was a collaboration among the scientists that his periodic table was not just a nice list, but a law (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 4). However, in science, a scientist must also be willing to face opposition to their ideas and the idea must continue to be tested. Also, as one thing is learned, many more questions arise, allowing for further breakthrough. This was the case with William Ramsay when he discovered argon. Mendeleev’s table was being disrupted with the idea that perhaps there were elements that didn’t fit his predictive table. After first disbelieving Ramsay, Mendeleev experimented, another form of science, and found Ramsay’s discovery to be worthy of publishing within his periodic table (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 4).

The sign of science of building upon others’ ideas also took place after Mendeleev’s death. More discoveries were made and his table became even more accurate, according to scientists of the day. Because of the predictive nature of Mendeleev’s periodic table, when rearranged based on subatomic material, more predictions that more elements would be found were later substantiated through new discoveries (Baldwin, Clough & Greenbowe, 5). In the end, every scientific discovery needs an idea building upon or refuting older ideas, experimentation, collaboration, specification, and dissemination. Through this methodology, advancements are made in our understanding of the natural world around us.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

This is a paper I wrote for one of my foundational science classes.


Great paper, good to see you are taking an interest in Science

The story of the periodic table where new elements were found to fill in the gaps where theory predicts things to exist is repeated in other fields too, for example the discovery of Neptune was largely attributed to an analysis of Uranus's orbit not being able to be explained by mathematics, with some concluding there must be another planet. Well that planet was Neptune.

I said said before science is littered with these examples, I wonder what the next discovery like this will be..

Thank you for sharing that! I didn't know that about Neptune. Cool stuff!