Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Shapeshifting: Proposal For a New Periodic Table of the Elements 87

Posted by timothy
from the settlers-of-catan-eat-your-heart-out dept.
First time accepted submitter ramorim writes "In honor of the Chemist Day, celebrated in Brazil on this day June 18, 2013, I publish a proposal for a new Periodic Table of Elements (Original, in Portugese) in a modular spiral-hexagonal model, with continuity and connectivity for all constituent units of the matter. This proposal indeed permits to extrapolate the hypothetical elements of the G-block and H-block in the same model."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Shapeshifting: Proposal For a New Periodic Table of the Elements

Comments Filter:
  • The logic of the table is that it predicts missing elements really well. Does this circular table do the same?
    • This proposal indeed permits to extrapolate the hypothetical elements of the G-block and H-block in the same model.

      Presumably that is the purpose of this periodic table...
      I would consider an alternative periodic table a success if it predicts new elements or new interactions that the old one didn't.
      I haven't been able to see the link, but my guess is that is the goal, not to change the periodic table we have, but to give another way of looking at the elements that allows for new predictions that can help advance research.

      • I would consider an alternative periodic table a success if it predicts new elements or new interactions that the old one didn't.

        This, right here. This is the only valid argument for changing an existing and well-understood model when there's no new evidence to consider.

        • by B'Trey (111263) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:50PM (#44040823)

          I would consider an alternative periodic table a success if it predicts new elements or new interactions that the old one didn't.

          This, right here. This is the only valid argument for changing an existing and well-understood model when there's no new evidence to consider.

          The Periodic Table isn't a model, or at least not a functional model. It's a chart - a way to represent data. Arguably, a chart is a model of sorts but considering your comment concerning "new evidence," you certainly seem to be implying that it's a model of how things function and this new proposal provides an alternate functional model, which isn't the case. The proposed alternative isn't a new theory of elements. It doesn't change our idea of how things works. It simply presents the same information and understanding in a different way. If the new table doesn't provide any new predictive ability at all but it does, say, present the information in a way that's easier to grasp or makes relationships clearer, then it's worth considering and possibly worth adapting.

          • by Cyberax (705495) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:51PM (#44041435)
            Clearly, you'd skipped chemistry lessons at school. Periodic table _is_ a model, it successfully predicted properties of new elements. The fact that it looks like a table is just a detail.
            • by X0563511 (793323)

              The name doesn't help either.

              In my case yes, I sacrificed chemistry to get a full dose of physics instead. I don't really regret it, though sometimes I do feel the lack. I would expect to see more use out of a database + algorithms rather than a convenient tabular arrangement.

            • No, it is not a model. Mendeleeiev noticed regularities in the elements. He found that putting them by rows and columns of properties, he got an arrangements where there were gaps. This was a model exactly in the way that giving names to clouds and putting them in a table is a model.

              Because nature is fairly regular, he was right: elements did fit in the missing spaces. But also, whole rows were missing. Now we understand, through quantum mechanics, where the patterns come from -- and also where they break d

              • by bogjobber (880402)
                Mendeleev was not the first person to put together the periodic table. His was just the best/most popular at the time. And if putting types of clouds in a table let you predict new, previously unknown types of clouds it would be a model as well.

                The concept of valency was understood at that time, so it wasn't just about physical properties. They may not have understood *why* the elements were periodic, but they successfully used it to predict the properties and relative masses of previously unknown, na
          • The Periodic Table isn't a model, or at least not a functional model. It's a chart - a way to represent data.

            It's more than a chart. A table is not just a way to represent data; a simple list of all items in random order can represent the data just as well as a table can. A table is a way to organize data -- by spotting patterns, identifying which patterns are most important, then arranging the items to highlight those patterns. By choosing which patterns are important, you are implicitly constructing a model of what the items in the table are.

            The Mendeleev-derived periodic table has done quite nicely for us: it predicted the properties of many elements long before we actually isolated them, and it was doing so well before we understood that the patterns highlighted by the table (the table's implicit model) were ultimately caused by the arrangement of electrons into quantum-mechanical energy-level shells by way of Pauli exclusion, with the arrangement of elements in each row directly dependent on the quantized degrees of freedom in each shell's energy level (hence the 2*[1], 2*[1+3], 2*[1+3+5], 2*[1+3+5+7] pattern in the table's row widths). Think of the table as a quick first-order approximation to the deeper equations needed to compute the true physics, such as the energy of a filled d-orbital in the third electron shell. A more complex table with an extra dimension or two of symmetry might be able to capture more patterns, giving us a more detailed model that produces better, more subtle approximations than the Mendeleev-derived model can yield; yet that new model would still bypass the tough work of calculating how electrons actually behave when packed around a single nucleus. (Or perhaps we could capture some symmetry affecting how an atom forms molecular bonds, or a nucleon symmetry that gives better predictions of stability and half-life or that better captures why the stable proton:neutron ratio isn't a perfectly smooth curve.)

            • Spot on.

              Just looking at a couple of the columns in Mendeleev's table [wikipedia.org] shows the considerable utility of the current table. You can see the properties of the elements as arranged tend to be similar to their neighbors: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine have useful similarities. Likewise: helium, neon, argon, krypton, exon, radon - all noble gasses. Flip to the other side, and lithium, sodium, and potassium are all highly reactive metals. Then consider carbon, silicon, and germanium - all useful in

        • This is the only valid argument for changing an existing and well-understood model when there's no new evidence to consider.

          There is one more possible reason which is if it makes the information somehow more comprehensible or easier to work with to someone appropriately trained. I'm not a chemist so I can't really speak to the difficulty or failings of the current periodic table versus this proposed one. However if this proposed version is somehow easier to work with and gives equivalent (or better) results then that could be a credible reason to use it. If it saves time or mental horsepower then that could be a good reason t

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            Different periodic tables might be better for different uses. Maybe one would be good for PhD's while others would be good for high school students who don't really intend on studying chemistry after high school or their bachelor's degree. Maybe a different periodic table would suit organic chemistry better. I doubt there's one periodic table that works best for all of chemistry, just as there isn't one programming language or IDE that works best for all types of programming.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      The logic of the table is that it predicts missing elements really well. Does this circular table do the same?

      Did you even read the summary?

      This proposal indeed permits to extrapolate the hypothetical elements of the G-block and H-block in the same model.

      I realize nobody reads TFA, but it's a two sentence summary which says, yes, it does allow predicting hypothetical elements.

      You could at least try.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The proposal looks more like a beehive than a table. Little wonder that the current design, with its' inherent expand-ability, has experienced sustained longevity.

    • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:18PM (#44040425)

      inherent expand-ability

      Actually, if you expanded the table in the way that is intuitively obvious (and provides the most meaning) it's about 5x wider than it is tall making it difficult to work with in a physical sense. As it is almost always presented, important information is totally lost on most people when they look at it.

      • From my hobbyist messings-around with PTOE, it seems that the Lanthanides and the Actinides are about unstable nuclei due to neutrino decay and the crazy electron configurations (Have you looked at those outer shells?? It's a mess!). If it were up to me, I would stop the table at Lead. Nothing really happens in 5f until after then anyways.
  • I thought one of the useful applications of the old table was that you could read down the columns and find 'like' materials, for instance, the halogens all sort of behave alike, the noble gases, etc. I don't see how that works here. And now of course, the article (the Google??) is now slashdotted and I can't recheck it.

    I don't see how the old table didn't work I guess.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      though this one can't be viewed at present, various spiral tables in the past had such similar elements on same radius line from center. Another "hip" thing to do was include the neutron in the inert gas family and before hydrogen in outward spiral.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      I don't see how the old table didn't work I guess.

      I don't think anybody is saying it "didn't work", but that we can convey even more information if we laid it out a little differently.

      So, if everything is in a spiral, the arms of the spiral instead of columns of the table contain the 'like' materials -- but I have no idea of what the 'more' information is since I haven't taken any chemistry classes in 25+ years.

    • The page is available again and I believe that information is represented by following the connections 45 degrees up and to the left in the proposed chart.

  • The subject says it all.

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Interestingly, I would expect just dumping the data into a database and using algorithms to figure things out would make more sense.

  • Error establishing a database connection that looks suspiciously like a broken WordPress on the source material. Google link shows a translation of a translation of a translation...
  • by medv4380 (1604309) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:12PM (#44040373)
    I can see where this "attempts" to make more sense. I'll still be going with Mendeleyev Derivatives. This proposal is just fancy for the sake of being fancy.
    • Hydrogen behaves in odd ways and it's hard to place it in a specific place that fits all "needs". In some ways [wikipedia.org] hydrogen behaves like halogens. Among other reasons because it can only establish one bond, like other halogens (since it's highest occupied orbital [which, coincidentally, is the only one] is missing one electron). Of course, since it's highest occupied orbital only has one electron, it fits nicely in the first column of the periodic table, where all elements have only one electron in their highes

  • A spiral model has potential since the underlying phenomenon could be described in spiral terms but this just didn't make any sense to me. Reading order was all foreign (even from the author's native language.) The potential for more connections could have been worthwhile but it wasn't clear what each dimension of connectivity meant.
    • It would seem to me that the current layout with its rows for the electron shells, and the columns for how many electrons are in the shell, would be of much more use. I'm not a chemist, but I don't see how a spiral layout would be "better" at pointing out relationships between the elements.
  • H. Beam Piper posited that an archeological team, finding the remains of a reasonably advanced civilization would be able to puzzle out their language(s) based on the fundamentals of math and chemistry in his novel ``Omnilingual'':

    http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19445 [gutenberg.org]

    I wonder what he would have thought of this, and how many other useful representations / arrangements there are of the periodic table.

    • by Comboman (895500) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:50PM (#44040821)

      I wonder ... how many other useful representations / arrangements there are of the periodic table.

      A surprisingly large variety [wikipedia.org] actually.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      H. Beam Piper posited that an archeological team, finding the remains of a reasonably advanced civilization would be able to puzzle out their language(s) based on the fundamentals of math and chemistry in his novel ``Omnilingual'':

      http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/19445 [gutenberg.org]

      I wonder what he would have thought of this, and how many other useful representations / arrangements there are of the periodic table.

      Nice to see I'm not the only one who remembers this. Consider though that they confirmed the information it out from the electron shells and atomic weights since they had already found reasonable guesses for number symbols and "months", the fact that it was arranged as a table was just one of the clues used to decipher it.

      (The concept of a periodic table as Rosetta Stone was reused in a Stargate episode and probably elsewhere, but Omnilingual is the oldest one I know of.)

    • I wonder what he would have thought of this, and how many other useful representations / arrangements there are of the periodic table.

      His Martian table of elements wasn't exactly Mendeleevian. Two columns, forty six elements in each. So I don't think Piper'd be shocked. The characters already knew they were in the chem department because of a Bohr representation of a Uranium atom. I suspect, given their knowledge of page numbers and number-names (ie, 9 and nine), chemists would have eventually figured out any "table" of elements, even if it was a spiral or some other form. It may not have happened on Mars, though.

      (The moral of the story w

  • by Sowelu (713889) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:41PM (#44040701)

    Foreign language submissions are all well and good, but shouldn't our esteemed editors be editing the submitted English into grammatical English (or paraphrasing it)?

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Your naivete is so charming.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They don't even do that when the original submission is in English. If anything, Slashdot editors make it worse.

  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by Megane (129182) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:45PM (#44040747) Homepage
    Since the original is unavailable, you might want to google for unusual periodic table [google.com] to see other interesting variations of the periodic table of the elements.
  • Anyway (Score:3, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:10PM (#44041045) Journal

    Oh for god's sake. Even the original in Portuguese is slashdotted.

  • I decry the validity of this new proposal because they could not even predict the Slashdot effect, in any language.

  • will have to revise his elements song. And you'll now have to sing it in rounds.

  • Iron-y coincidence? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatseattleguy (897282) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @03:19PM (#44042269) Homepage
    One interesting feature of the table is the resulting position of iron(Fe) - it serves as the single, pivotal point that "links" the two halves of the table and spiral together.

    And, of course, iron is at the bottom of the binding energy curve - it can't be fissioned or fusioned to provide net energy output.

    My physics education is too far in the distant past to discern if these two things are just a coincidence - or significant feature resulting from the inherent structure of the table.

  • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @05:36PM (#44043691)

    I've seen various 'periodic tables' over the years (I have a chem degree), but this one just doesn't do anything for me. What exactly are the extra relationships being depicted here? In what sense is He for instance intermediate in properties between H and Li (which are vastly more similar to each other chemically than either one is to He and in the standard periodic table this is apparent). Nor do I see any special close affinity between say C and Al, yet they are adjacent in this table (in a standard periodic table these elements are fairly close but not adjacent).

    I don't even understand the choice of positions of elements on this table. It seems in some degree arbitrary. Why a spiral? Why this PARTICULAR spiral arrangement? I really must be missing something here....

    • by countach (534280)

      Yes exactly. This table might be brilliant, but we aren't told exactly what the extra relationships are that are modelled. If some label could be applied to the various rows to tell us what value the table is giving us, it might make sense.

      • Yeah, the article just blathers on about how wonderful the hexagonal arrangement and spiral layout are, etc. Maybe there's some significance, but if the OP wants us to know about it he should write up a better description, lol.

  • I just finished this book (http://www.amazon.com/Disappearing-Spoon-Madness-Periodic-Elements/dp/0316051632/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371593805&sr=1-1&keywords=disappearing+spoon), it's pretty entertaining for chemistry and sciency types.
  • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @07:50PM (#44044851)

    But five out of six bees think it's a big improvement.

  • I kept telling ThinkGeek, "I only have a shower stall, you insensitive clods!!!" and that their landscape oriented periodic table shower curtain [thinkgeek.com] doesn't fit correctly.

    Now I can get a new style periodic table that fits a shower stall that's taller than it is wide!

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.

Working...