Good Table or Great System Model...
It could go either way!

spacer ...but the jury is still out.

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Here are some thoughts about systems and tables, spacer then you can join the jury!

Look, you're pretty savvy about science, right?
You've likely been in Chemistry classrooms... more than once!
You've seen element data presented in many formats - mostly tables, but also in lists by different properties, discovery dates, country first found, etc. ad infinitum.
You may have questioned certain of the conclusions represented in tables and you've seen alternatives to them, but, like most, you have not wondered if the information there was from a separate source!
I am in discussion with Eric Scerri, the foremost periodic table philosopher, and others, about the likelihood of the dimensional form of the Alexander Arrangement of Elements model (see above) being among the precursors to the many 2D periodic tables: that a 3D helix is the true basic form of the Main Group elements of the chemical element system, and data on tables could be thought of as having been projected from them to the flat page (much as maps are from the globe) for convenience in printing and reference, to fit in a school book and a student's mind.

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Merriam Webster describes the word 'table' as "a systematic arrangement of data usually in rows and columns for ready reference", and other sources identify its primary property as being flatness.

While Mendeleev originally thought of his work as a system, later it was recognized as fitting properly in the table category, and the current row and column element charts generally include 'table' in their name or title.

A system is described as "a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole", with no source limitation, i.e.; a number system, a thermodynamic system, the digestive system, etc. For the elements, the real system is the basic matter and/or energy of our existence.

Would it not be true then; that any depiction that incorporates the data from real items should display their system; property relationships - subsystems, numbers, items, forces, etc.? Then, parts and relationships making up the referenced system should be placed in a more understandable and usable form, a table. retaining their original natural relationships to the degree possible while constricted to rows and columns on a flat surface.

Science seems to have skipped recognizing that first step; Reality to System, and often conflates it with the second step; System to Table. Even Eric Scerri claimed one time that "it's both a system and a table".

Accuracy is a must for communicating a scientific system of classification as important as one defining all the matter that exists!

The data for a periodic table of elements is provided by the chemical element system, itself deriving from atoms: reality. Element data in this system can be completely accurate, unrestricted by the 'table' format, and can obey to both parts of Mendeleev's Periodic Law: the first; "
...when the elements are arranged in order ", and then the second; " ...certain sets of properties recur periodically ", without breaking the first continuous sequence.

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Reader, it is clear to me that those depictions matching the above description are the only models deserving of the title Chemical Element System. Of those, it appears that the only one currently available is the Alexander Arrangement of Elements 3D model - called the "3D Forever Periodic Table". The system form found in my 1965 experiment turns out to have been been preceded by chemical element system models of Alexandre Émile de Chancourtois (first PERIODIC arrangement,1862), Lothar Meyer, Charles Janet, M. Courtines, George Gamov and others. Their work was unrecognized as being that which all supposed the flat periodic table to be - perhaps even by them.

These system illustrations are not periodic table variations or alternatives - tables are more useful! Periodic tables like excellent worksheets - provide outstanding and diverse ways to actually learn and do chemistry - much as maps are the only way to effectively use the information found completely correctly oriented and related only on the World Globe, itself derived from reality, the Earth.

I have great hopes that Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff will do a followup YouTube video to his "Your periodic table is probably WRONG" (, pointing out the many (13) discontinuity errors that result from the transfer from the reality of the system models to a tabular surface, and that these faults are not inherent in the chemical element system, which, as demonstrated by the Alexander Arrangement of Elements, can follow both the first AND last parts of Mendeleev's Periodic Law to the letter.


...who claim to systematically seek to acquire knowledge - surprise me by failing to search for whatever the Icon of Chemistry, Science, and, conceivably, Education, is referencing...

...and who for a century or so, failed to recognize that the independent source of systematized material/items that needed to be rowed and columned for convenience, clarity, and effective use, was not the tables themselves, but the scientific system of classification called the


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1. Scerri, Rutherford article,

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