The Nature of Things | Science News


Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


The Nature of Things

Attempts to change the periodic table raise eyebrows

8:54am, October 21, 2003

One day, during the spring semester of 1999, L. Bruce Railsback turned against one of science's most visible icons: the periodic table of chemical elements. He was using a conventional periodic table mounted on the wall to illustrate a geochemistry lecture about the behavior of minerals in natural waters. That's when he realized how confusing the table's organization was, at least for his purposes. "I looked like a contortionist trying to point to different elements in different places," says Railsback. "That's what pushed me over the edge."

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News