All About the Periodic Table

Periodic Tables and Info About Them

Student scratching head and looking at periodic table of elements
Jon Feingersh/Getty Images

The periodic table of the elements is one of the most important tools used by a chemist or other scientist because it summarizes useful information about the chemical elements in a format that shows relationships between the elements.

Get Your Own Periodic Table

You can find the periodic table in any chemistry textbook, plus there are apps so you can refer to the table from your phone. However, sometimes it's nice to be able to have one open on your computer or to save one to your desktop or print one off.

Printed periodic tables are great because you can mark them up and not worry about ruining your book. Here are some tables you can use:

Use Your Periodic Table

A tool is only as good as your ability to use it! Once you are familiar with the way the elements are organized, you can locate them more quickly, get information from the periodic table, and draw conclusions about the properties of elements based on their location on the table.

Periodic Table History

Many people consider Dmitri Mendeleev to be the Father of the Modern Periodic Table.

Mendeleev's table was slightly different from the table we use today in that his table was ordered by increasing atomic weight and our modern table is ordered by increasing atomic number. However, Mendeleev's table was a true periodic table because it organizes the elements according to recurring trends or properties.

Get To Know the Elements

Of course, the periodic table is all about the elements. The elements are identified by the number of protons in an atom of that element. Right now, you'll see 118 elements on the periodic table, but as more elements are discovered, another row will be added to the table.

Quiz Yourself

Because it's necessary to know what the periodic table is and how to use it, you can expect to be tested about it from grade school pretty much until the end of time. Before your grade is on the line, probe your strengths and weaknesses with online quizzes. You might even have fun!