Image: Mohd Abubakr
The modern periodic table of elements has been attributed to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, which he published in 1869. Pictured above is a proposed alternative that is shaped like a circle in order to arrange atoms by relative size:
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.
That’s worthy but flawed…
Unfortunately, Abubakr’s arrangement means that the table can only be read by rotating it. That’s tricky with a textbook and impossible with most computer screens.
The great utility of Mendeleev’s arrangements was its predictive power: the gaps in his table allowed him to predict the properties of undiscovered elements. It’s worth preserving in its current form for that reason alone.