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Science

Periodic Table of Elements To Get an Update 99

Posted by timothy
from the elementally-my-dear-watson dept.
Lazarian writes "Scientists from around the world have put forth an update to the Periodic Table of Elements. In particular, they are changing the manner in which atomic weights of ten elements are expressed. From the article: 'For example, sulfur is commonly known to have a standard atomic weight of 32.065. However, its actual atomic weight can be anywhere between 32.059 and 32.076, depending on where the element is found.'"
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Periodic Table of Elements To Get an Update

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  • dupe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:54PM (#34601330) Journal

    one can imagine the challenge now to educators and students who will have to select a single value out of an interval when doing chemistry calculations," says Dr. Fabienne Meyers, associate director of IUPAC

    not really, if it's a problem now, it was then too since these weights didn't magically change. Really, it doesn't terribly matter much as it is, the discrepancy is tiny and for most molecules, largely irrelevant. For any calculation that really reall matters, you won't be using the range on the table, you'd be measuring the isotope ratio in your sample and for times when it doesn't, well, that's self explanatory.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:59PM (#34601370)

    Chemistry students don't need this many significant figures. Last time I took classes in that, I remember using about 4 significant figures (2 after the decimal) for everything.

    The hard part of any problem in science is solving it : performing the calculations with any arbitrary number of significant figures is trivial.

    And for real world uses, the atomic weight of an element is going to depend on exactly what ore you are using of that element. If your problem is affected by significant figures this far to the right of the decimal, you probably need data on exactly what you are working with.

  • by magus_melchior (262681) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @04:11PM (#34601916) Journal

    One gripe I have about the IUPAC's insistence on -ium for aluminium is that they break that convention for elements like tantalum, platinum, molybdenum, and lanthanum. Y'know, if they really, REALLY wanted to be consistent, they'd rename those tantalium, platinium, molybdenium, and lanthanium.

    Of course, I can't complain too hard, as the ACS used "aluminium" until they changed their minds...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @04:17PM (#34601970)
    You lot have cheese in a can. I rest my case.

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