MTM's life-size periodic table
This webpage is a visual summary of the life-size table of Mendeleev which was built in the spring of 2011 at MTM, the department of Materials Engineering of the KU Leuven. This project was initiated in our department in the fall of 2009 and was realized by the efforts and ingenuity of all of its members and members of the research group of Professor Binnemans. We decided to build this table as we believe that the information contained in the periodic table is one of the corner stones of material science. The table is on display in the Campus Library Arenberg (CBA).
To see a close-up of every element in the table, the items on display, and the story behind it, click on that element in the table below. You will discover the beauty and the different nature of the elements and you will perhaps get an appreciation of the wonder that everything in nature is composed of less than 100 elementary building blocks
THE DISCOVERY OF THE PERIODIC TABLE
In 1867 Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev was elected chairman of the Department of Chemistry, St-Petersburg University. He began teaching a general course in chemistry and prepared a manual for his students, the future "Principles of Chemistry". His ambition was to find a logical interconnection between the properties of the chemical elements and their compounds. This led to the discovery of the periodic law.
The manuscript shown at the back of our Periodic Table is one of the first drafts of Mendeleev of the system of elements, sketched in early 1869. A legend says that Mendeleev had a dream about the system, and hastily made these first notes on his bedside table. It is said that this manuscript is an early incarnation of the dream of a genius. On February 17th 1869 (Julian calendar), Mendeleev made a clean manuscript of the system, which was printed in 200 copies (150 copies in Russian, 50 in French). It was sent to many distinguished chemists of that time. This was the first publication of the periodic table.
The manuscript is preserved in the Dmitry Mendeleev Museum and Archive in St.-Petersburg. It was photographed there especially for reproduction in our Periodic Table by Dr. A.V. Smirnov (Institute of Physics, St-Petersburg State University) in January 2011.