The periodic table, also known as the periodic table of elements, is a tabular display of the chemical elements, which are arranged by atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties.
In 1789, Antoine Lavoisier published a list of 33 chemical elements, grouping them into gases, metals, nonmetals, and earths. Chemists spent the following century searching for a more precise classification scheme.
In 1829, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner observed that many of the elements could be grouped into triads based on their chemical properties. Lithium, sodium, and potassium, for example, were grouped together in a triad as soft, reactive metals. Döbereiner also observed that, when arranged by atomic weight, the second member of each triad was roughly the average of the first and the third. This became known as the Law of Triads. German chemist Leopold Gmelin worked with this system, and by 1843 he had identified ten triads, three groups of four, and one group of five.
Jean-Baptiste Dumas published work in 1857 describing relationships between various groups of metals.
In 1857, German chemist August Kekulé observed that carbon often has four other atoms bonded to it. Methane, for example, has one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. This concept eventually became known as valency, where different elements bond with different numbers of atoms.
In 1862, Alexandre-Emile Béguyer de Chancourtois, a French geologist, published an early form of periodic table, which he called the telluric helix or screw. He was the first person to notice the periodicity of the elements. With the elements arranged in a spiral on a cylinder by order of increasing atomic weight, de Chancourtois showed that elements with similar properties seemed to occur at regular intervals. His chart included some ions and compounds in addition to elements. His paper also used geological rather than chemical terms and did not include a diagram. As a result, it received little attention until the work of Dmitri Mendeleev.
In 1864, Julius Lothar Meyer, a German chemist, published a table with 28 elements. Realizing that an arrangement according to atomic weight did not exactly fit the observed periodicity in chemical properties he gave valency priority over minor differences in atomic weight. A missing element between Si and Sn was predicted with atomic weight 73 and valency 4. Concurrently, English chemist William Odling published an arrangement of 57 elements, ordered on the basis of their atomic weights. With some irregularities and gaps, he noticed what appeared to be a periodicity of atomic weights among the elements and that this accorded with "their usually received groupings". Odling alluded to the idea of a periodic law but did not pursue it. He subsequently proposed (in 1870) a valence-based classification of the elements.
In 1867, Gustavus Hinrichs, a Danish born academic chemist based in America, published a spiral periodic system based on atomic spectra and weights, and chemical similarities. His work was regarded as idiosyncratic, ostentatious and labyrinthine and this may have militated against its recognition and acceptance.
Mendeleev published in 1869, using atomic weight to organize the elements, information determinable to fair precision in his time. Atomic weight worked well enough to allow Mendeleev to accurately predict the properties of missing elements.
Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev and German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer independently published their periodic tables in 1869 and 1870, respectively. Mendeleev's table, dated March 1 [O.S. February 17] 1869, was his first published version. That of Meyer was an expanded version of his (Meyer's) table of 1864. They both constructed their tables by listing the elements in rows or columns in order of atomic weight and starting a new row or column when the characteristics of the elements began to repeat.
Within 100 years of the appearance of Mendeleev's table in 1869, Edward G. Mazurs had collected an estimated 700 different published versions of the periodic table. As well as numerous rectangular variations, other periodic table formats have been shaped, for example, like a circle, cube, cylinder, building, spiral, lemniscate, octagonal prism, pyramid, sphere, or triangle. Such alternatives are often developed to highlight or emphasize chemical or physical properties of the elements that are not as apparent in traditional periodic tables.
In 1871, Mendeleev published his periodic table in a new form, with groups of similar elements arranged in columns rather than in rows, and those columns numbered I to VIII corresponding with the element's oxidation state. He also gave detailed predictions for the properties of elements he had earlier noted were missing, but should exist. These gaps were subsequently filled as chemists discovered additional naturally occurring elements. It is often stated that the last naturally occurring element to be discovered was francium (referred to by Mendeleev as eka-caesium) in 1939. Plutonium, produced synthetically in 1940, was identified in trace quantities as a naturally occurring element in 1971.
Following the discovery of the atomic nucleus by Ernest Rutherford in 1911, it was proposed that the integer count of the nuclear charge is identical to the sequential place of each element in the periodic table. In 1913, Henry Moseley using X-ray spectroscopy confirmed this proposal experimentally. Moseley determined the value of the nuclear charge of each element and showed that Mendeleev's ordering actually places the elements in sequential order by nuclear charge. Nuclear charge is identical to proton count and determines the value of the atomic number (Z) of each element. Using atomic number gives a definitive, integer-based sequence for the elements. Moseley predicted, in 1913, that the only elements still missing between aluminium (Z = 13) and gold (Z = 79) were Z = 43, 61, 72, and 75, all of which were later discovered. The atomic number is the absolute definition of an element and gives a factual basis for the ordering of the periodic table. In other words, since the atomic number of an element is the same as the number of protons in its nucleus, the modern periodic table arranges the elements according to their atomic number, and relative to their atomic mass, the way Mendeleev did. The periodic table is used to predict the properties of new synthetic elements before they are produced and studied.
The number of possible elements is not known. A very early suggestion made by Elliot Adams in 1911, and based on the arrangement of elements in each horizontal periodic table row, was that elements of atomic weight greater than circa 256 (which would equate to between elements 99 and 100 in modern-day terms) did not exist. A higher—more recent—estimate is that the periodic table may end soon after the island of stability, which is expected to centre around element 126, as the extension of the periodic and nuclides tables is restricted by proton and neutron drip lines. Other predictions of an end to the periodic table include at element 128 by John Emsley, at element 137 by Richard Feynman, at element 146 by Yogendra Gambhir, and at element 155 by Albert Khazan.
The popular periodic table layout, also known as the common or standard form (as shown at various other points in this article), is attributable to Horace Groves Deming. In 1923, Deming, an American chemist, published short (Mendeleev style) and medium (18-column) form periodic tables. Merck and Company prepared a handout form of Deming's 18-column medium table, in 1928, which was widely circulated in American schools. By the 1930s Deming's table was appearing in handbooks and encyclopedias of chemistry. It was also distributed for many years by the Sargent-Welch Scientific Company.
Electronegativity is the tendency of an atom to attract a shared pair of electrons. An atom's electronegativity is affected by both its atomic number and the distance between the valence electrons and the nucleus. The higher its electronegativity, the more an element attracts electrons. It was first proposed by Linus Pauling in 1932. In general, electronegativity increases on passing from left to right along a period, and decreases on descending a group. Hence, fluorine is the most electronegative of the elements, while caesium is the least, at least of those elements for which substantial data is available.
Although minute quantities of some transuranic elements occur naturally, they were all first discovered in laboratories. Their production has expanded the periodic table significantly, the first of these being neptunium, synthesized in 1939. Because many of the transuranic elements are highly unstable and decay quickly, they are challenging to detect and characterize when produced. There have been controversies concerning the acceptance of competing discovery claims for some elements, requiring independent review to determine which party has priority, and hence naming rights. In 2010, a joint Russia–US collaboration at Dubna, Moscow Oblast, Russia, claimed to have synthesized six atoms of tennessine (element 117), making it the most recently claimed discovery. It, along with nihonium (element 113), moscovium (element 115), and oganesson (element 118), are the four most recently named elements, whose names all became official on 28 November 2016.
In 1945, Glenn Seaborg, an American scientist, made the suggestion that the actinide elements, like the lanthanides, were filling an f sub-level. Before this time the actinides were thought to be forming a fourth d-block row. Seaborg's colleagues advised him not to publish such a radical suggestion as it would most likely ruin his career. As Seaborg considered he did not then have a career to bring into disrepute, he published anyway. Seaborg's suggestion was found to be correct and he subsequently went on to win the 1951 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work in synthesizing actinide elements.
Under an international naming convention, the groups are numbered numerically from 1 to 18 from the leftmost column (the alkali metals) to the rightmost column (the noble gases). Previously, they were known by roman numerals. In America, the roman numerals were followed by either an "A" if the group was in the s- or p-block, or a "B" if the group was in the d-block. The roman numerals used correspond to the last digit of today's naming convention (e.g. the group 4 elements were group IVB, and the group 14 elements were group IVA). In Europe, the lettering was similar, except that "A" was used if the group was before group 10, and "B" was used for groups including and after group 10. In addition, groups 8, 9 and 10 used to be treated as one triple-sized group, known collectively in both notations as group VIII. In 1988, the new IUPAC naming system was put into use, and the old group names were deprecated.
In other tables, lutetium and lawrencium are the remaining group 3 members. Early techniques for chemically separating scandium, yttrium and lutetium relied on the fact that these elements occurred together in the so-called "yttrium group" whereas La and Ac occurred together in the "cerium group". Accordingly, lutetium rather than lanthanum was assigned to group 3 by some chemists in the 1920s and 30s. Several physicists in the 1950s and '60s favoured lutetium, in light of a comparison of several of its physical properties with those of lanthanum. This arrangement, in which lanthanum is the first member of the f-block, is disputed by some authors since lanthanum lacks any f-electrons. It has been argued that this is not a valid concern given other periodic table anomalies—thorium, for example, has no f-electrons yet is part of the f-block. As for lawrencium, its gas phase atomic electron configuration was confirmed in 2015 as [Rn]5f 7s 7p . Such a configuration represents another periodic table anomaly, regardless of whether lawrencium is located in the f-block or the d-block, as the only potentially applicable p-block position has been reserved for nihonium with its predicted configuration of [Rn]5f 6d 7s 7p .
Chemical and physical arguments have been made in support of lutetium and lawrencium but the majority of authors seem unconvinced. Most working chemists are not aware there is any controversy. In December 2015 an IUPAC project was established to make a recommendation on the matter.
Since 2016, the periodic table has 118 confirmed elements, from element 1 (hydrogen) to 118 (oganesson). Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, the most recent discoveries, were officially confirmed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in December 2015. Their proposed names, nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og) respectively, were announced by the IUPAC in June 2016 and made official in November 2016.