Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Circular Periodic Table of the Elements

Mohd Abubakr has redrawn the classic periodic table in a circular pattern to improve the proximity and relationships between the elements.
So why change it? According to Mohd Abubakr from Microsoft Research in Hyderabad, the table can be improved by arranging it in circular form. He says this gives a sense of the relative size of atoms--the closer to the centre, the smaller they are--something that is missing from the current form of the table. It preserves the periods and groups that make Mendeleev's table so useful. And by placing hydrogen and helium near the centre, Abubakr says this solves the problem of whether to put hydrogen with the halogens or alkali metals and of whether to put helium in the 2nd group or with the inert gases.
The strongest feedback about the new circular table is that you have to rotate it to read it.  Kind of a problem when you print a poster and post it in a classroom or a laboratory.  Although I think it's an easy thing to remedy by changing the orientation of the text.

Original post on Technology Review by MIT, and found on VizWorld by Randall Hand.


  1. Easier remedy: Produce the poster as a circle that can be spun around a pin stuck in or to the wall.

  2. Spiral Periodic Tables seem like a natural improvement for seeing the orbitals more coherently.

    Though as ppl on the original arXiv point out, Mohn's is barely different to other spiral attempts of the past century

  3. spam ftl - please change to 'approve comments' ;)

    As for the graphic-of-elements.. as mentioned above.. it's been tried before but has far too many down sides to make the up sides worth it.

    Giguere's pyramid is fun, but difficult to visualize (and remain legible) without the aid of an interactive display.

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  5. There have been other attempts at a circular periodic tables, but in my opinion this was the best attempt so far and worth sharing.

    Please keep the comments relevant, or I will need to start moderating comments. I don't want to moderate comments. I've removed a number of spam comments from multiple posts lately.

  6. I agree with your assertion, Randy, that this is the best attempt thusfar at a circular periodic table. The notion of organizing by atomic size is really great.

    This need not be considered on the basis of validity in poster form, either. I can imagine all manner of media in which this display would prove quite useful, apart from print.

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