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Calendar Curiosities: March 6, 1869- Periodic Table of the Elements Debuts

Tomorrow’s the deadline for 2008/2009 Skepchick or Skepdude Calendar Applications.  Just so’s you know.  Now, on to chemistry.

Very short backstory: Chemist Dimitri Mendeleev presented his table, titled The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements to the Russian Chemical Society on this day in 1869.  It arranged elements by their atomic mass and valences, introduced the idea of periodicity and even made predictions about properties of elements unknown at the time, but discovered later. 

Skepchick point of interest:  Later in his career, Mendeleev was the man in charge of developing state standards for vodka.  He determined, using molecular weights, that Russia vodka should be 40% alcohol by volume, which is still the standard today.

Not-so-Skepchick?:  Yeah, not today.   I thought I might post about how some folks think the elements “influence” our “energies” but the periodic table is better than that.  It’s not been overly bastardized or co-opted by wooishness, and I’m not going to make a case for doing so.  Instead, I’ll just remind you all how beautiful, literal, and cool it can be. 


A B Kovacs is the Director of Døøm at Empty Set Entertainment, a publishing company she co-founded with critical thinker and fiction author Scott Sigler. She considers herself a “Creative Adjacent” — helping creative people be more productive and prolific by managing the logistics of Making for the masses. She's a science nerd, a rabid movie geek, and an unrepentantly voracious reader. She doesn't like chocolate all that much.

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  1. Sigh… if Rav Winston didn't beat me to it, I was SO going to post a link to that Tom Lehrer song.

    Anyway, I like to fall back on the Periodic Table when confronting people who talk about how great "natural" things are. I typically start with "Arsenic is an element…that's about as natural as it gets. Doesn't mean it's good for you!" Then I move on to radioactive elements.

    Also, I just love saying "Mendeleev"

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