Object 3: The first Periodic Table

May 26, 2021


Figure 3- First published Period Table

The final object in this exhibition is the periodic table which was invented by Russian Chemistry Professor Dmitri Ivanovic Mendeleev on February 17, 1869. This periodic table was the first periodic table presented by Dmitri. It differs from the periodic table that is used today as over the years it has been developed and changed every time new elements were discovered. Specific gaps indicated that Dmitri knew elements were missing which he hadn’t discovered yet and therefore could not identify. He knew the chemical properties of those elements as elements in the same row and column have common properties.

This object enriches the exhibition because when this periodic table was first presented Mendeleev’s table was widely accepted since it predicted the characteristics and placements of yet-to-be-discovered elements. The theory of atomic mass, which is credited to John Dalton, was one of the main discoveries that allowed for the creation of the periodic table. In this case, the context of the object was justified with the evidence presented along with it.

This object also enriches the exhibition because if it was presented to a modern chemist today it may be rejected. Over time there have been new discoveries made which can disprove the validity of Mendeleev’s table. The current knowledge modern chemists have after many years of scientific discoveries is much wider than the chemists in 1869 had. This shows that the time at which knowledge is presented may influence whether it’s rejected or accepted depending on the level of knowledge others have and their ability to criticize. To be able to recognise the periodic table as knowledge, you have to have certain background knowledge which enables you to access the validity of the knowledge presented. In this case, a modern chemist would have a wide prior knowledge of the periodic table based on the knowledge provided today and therefore would reject the knowledge Mendeleev presents, known as the “first periodic table”.



Figure 1: Cantrell, John, 20th Century History for Cambridge IGCSE Complete Series. Oxford University Press

Figure 2: “7 Of Hawaii’s Most Popular Lei And What Makes Them Unique – Hawaii Magazine”. 2021. Hawaii Magazine. https://www.hawaiimagazine.com/7-of-hawaiis-most-popular-lei-and-what-makes-them-unique/.

Figure 3: “Lesson 9: Create A Table- Properties Of The Elements – Unit 1: Alchemy”. 2021. Sites.Google.Com. https://sites.google.com/site/unit1alchemy/section-2-basic-building-materials/lesson-9-create-a-table–properties-of-the-elements.

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