The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century

The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century

Edited by Dr. D. Rouvray and Dr. R. Bruce King

To scientists, the periodic table is the chemical equivalent of the Rosetta Stone. Just as the Rosetta Stone unlocked the secrets of the ancient cuneiform script, so the periodic table provides the key to understanding the properties of the chemical elements. Despite the importance of the table for the last 150 years, until now, there has not been a comprehensive study of the history, the nature, and the interpretations of it.

A book has been published recently which fills this major gap in the chemical literature. The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century, edited by Dr. D. Rouvray and Dr. R. Bruce King, contains a chapter titled The Richness of Periodic Patterns, authored by Dr. Geoff Rayner-Canham, Chemistry Professor at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.

In this chapter, Dr. Rayner-Canham provides the first synthesis of the different ways in which chemical elements can be related. He reviews briefly the two well-known trends of groups and periods and then discusses some of the lesser-known relationships such as that between members of one group, N, and the members of the N+10 group. Among the several other linkages he describes are the diagonal relationship, pseudo-elements, and the “Knight’s move” relationship first popularised by the South African chemist, Dr. Michael Laing.

The Periodic Table: Into the 21st Century

Dr. Rayner-Canham also shows connections in the little-studied lanthanoid and actinoid series. The many inter-relationships are shown in a unique adaptation of the Periodic Table that he has devised and copyrighted.

The book arose from an international invitation-only conference on the periodic table held in 2003. Dr Rayner-Canham was one of the only two Canadians nominated to participate in this event. Following the conference, the 13 most important contributions were selected for inclusion in the book, one of those being Dr Rayner-Canham’s work. The compilation is published by Research Studies Press Ltd., a partner imprint with the Institute of Physics Publishing.