Ever wondered, why, our Periodic Table is in such Uniformity? Why is it that we have exactly ALL the elements with atomic numbers 1 to 118? Since the atomic number of an element is just the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom of that element, we can say
Why is the interval in the number of protons in successive elements in the Periodic Table ALWAYS 1?
What this means is, why don’t we have Elements at random spaces in the Periodic Table? Why isn’t it like that the elements have non-serialized and non-uniform Atomic Numbers, like 1, then abruptly 9, then 10, and suddenly again 21? Why aren’t there any gaps in there?
So, are we simply relying on the Fact that discovery of elements must not have been in order? We must not have found Hydrogen first, and then Helium, etc. Discovery has no particular order, and so was the case with elements. Comparing with today’s Periodic Table, we first found Element 29 (Copper), then 16 (Sulfur), and so on — no order at all. So how did it exactly come up the way it is? Let’s first study the discovery of elements in Brief.
Ancient Man had successfully discovered 8 elements, which when now put into the modern periodic table clearly depict how their discovery was very general, and unordered.
By the end of the 18th Century, many more elements already had been found, and though there wasn't the Periodic Table yet, if we fit those elements in today’s periodic table, we can observe how unorganized discoveries had started, just started, to LOOK organized, as we now can see a number of continuous series of successive elements. However, remember, seldom did it occur that 2 elements of successive atomic number were discovered exactly one after the other.
Most Groups and Periods had been broken into by 1900. More and larger chains of continuous elements can be observed, although the same trend of not discovering successive elements continued. Things now REALLY seemed to become ordered!
Finally Enough, by 2009, all elements currently present in the Modern Periodic Table were discovered. Surprisingly enough, this final phase of discovery was really very organized. After 1940, elements from atomic number 94 to 118, were discovered in some really uniform order, though not completely serialized.
So, things started from chaos — nothing was uniform and ordered. Then one by one, groups of uniformly ordered things began showing up and finally, we had the best of order we could have — The Modern Periodic Table. Here’s an animation to describe it up.
(Programmers, like me, would surely relate it to insertion sort!)
So, was the uniformity we have a result of coincidence? Or, was it because of the kind of Periodic Table we have? Or is it something else, much more simple than everything? We would read about that in the Next Story — PART II. Stay Tuned!
Thanks for Reading!