Friday, June 1, 2012

A New Periodic Paradigm

Before vanishing from the blogosphere, commenter Ritmo wrote back here:
I remember coming up with an improved periodic table while daydreaming during the inorganic chemistry course I took in college. When we were learning about d and f orbitals it occurred to me that a 2-dimensional table is flawed. Ultimately it should loop around as a cylinder, with the lanthanides and actinides poking out in a raised, textural format. For the life of me I can't remember how I worked it out in perfect detail, but it avoided the unnecessary breaks between groups I and II and reflected the fact that s and p orbitals underlie any expanded orbitals. Putting the transition metals smack dab in the middle of the non-metals and group II just didn't make any sense. And starting over again between the noble gases and group I instead of looping them around to the next orbital seemed an arbitrary convention, like hitting the return key or banging whatever that part was named on a typewriter as you finished a line and needed to move on to the next.

That is absolutely brilliant. It's like a revelation or a prophecy. It's not 100% original, but then few insights are. I will say more about that later. This revelation vexed me off and on for some time and I tried to sketch it until I realized that I needed to sit down like Richard Dreyfuss did in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and build the vision:


So sitting at the kitchen table, I started playing around with a flat periodic table, cutting it up and rearranging and I came up with this:

Cylindrical Periodic Table

Cylindrical Periodic Table

I'll be writing lots more on this in future posts. Lots more!

4 comments:

  1. Good job - I like that. Can't stand Brazilboy, but I like that work.

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  2. Bet my husband woukd be fascinated by this. I'll have to show it to him.

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  3. I made a promise to expand this in the future which I haven't forgotten. It really does excite me in a strange way because it juxtaposes the elements in new ways. I have taken lots of notes along these lines and have been looking into the originality of this approach (because I really do thing some aspects are original and I want to make sure).

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