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Monday, February 8, 2016

Google doodle celebrates maker of Periodic tables in Chemistry

Those days in school, not many things were understood – not the fault of those who taught.  Today, as I googled for a relatively simple thing, appeared a bearded old man who commanded some respect and aroused curiosity to read! If you studied Chemistry at school, sure, you would have read [if not understood] the periodic table of elements in Chemistry.  The man honoured in today’s doodle is the Russian Chemist who would have been 182, widely credited for creating the table.  

Each element within the periodic table contains its atomic number, which is equal to the number of protons/electrons within the element, its atomic weight and its element symbol, consisting of one or two letters.  The periodic table is a tabular arrangement of the chemical elements, ordered by their atomic number (number of protons), electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties. The rows of the table are called periods; the columns are called groups.

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev  [1834 –  1907]  formulated the Periodic Law, created a farsighted version of the periodic table of elements, and used it to correct the properties of some already discovered elements and also to predict the properties of eight elements yet to be discovered. Mendeleev was born in the village of Verkhnie Aremzyani, near Tobolsk in Siberia. Mendeleev is thought to be the youngest of either 11, 13, 14 or 17 siblings !! ~ his  father was a teacher of fine arts, politics and philosophy. Early in his age,  father became blind and lost his teaching position. His mother was forced to work and she restarted her family's abandoned glass factory. At the age of 13, after the passing of his father and the destruction of his mother's factory by fire, Mendeleev attended the Gymnasium in Tobolsk.

In 1849, his mother took Mendeleev across the entire state of Russia from Siberia to Moscow with the aim of getting Mendeleev a higher education. The university in Moscow did not accept him. After graduation, he contracted tuberculosis, causing him to move to the Crimean Peninsula on the northern coast of the Black Sea in 1855. In late August 1861 he wrote his first book on the spectroscope. In 1865 he became Doctor of Science for his dissertation "On the Combinations of Water with Alcohol".
His divorce and the surrounding controversy contributed to his failure to be admitted to the Russian Academy of Sciences (despite his international fame by that time). His daughter from his second marriage, Lyubov, became the wife of the famous Russian poet Alexander Blok.

Mendeleev also investigated the composition of petroleum, and helped to found the first oil refinery in Russia. He recognized the importance of petroleum as a feedstock for petrochemicals. He is credited with a remark that burning petroleum as a fuel "would be akin to firing up a kitchen stove with bank notes."

In 1905, Mendeleev was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The following year the Nobel Committee for Chemistry recommended to the Swedish Academy to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 1906 to Mendeleev for his discovery of the periodic system. The Chemistry Section of the Swedish Academy supported this recommendation. The Academy was then supposed to approve the Committee's choice, as it has done in almost every case. Unexpectedly, at the full meeting of the Academy, a dissenting member of the Nobel Committee, Peter Klason, proposed the candidacy of another whom he favored.

In 1907, Mendeleev died at the age of 72 in Saint Petersburg from influenza. The crater Mendeleev on the Moon, as well as element number 101, the  radioactive mendelevium, are named after him. Makes an interesting read ! ~ that he was not given Nobel prize for different reasons !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Feb 2016. 

2nd photo credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1526889

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