Proceedings in Radiochemistry
A Supplement to Radiochimica Acta
This year (2009) marks the 140th Anniversary of Mendeleev's original 1869 periodic table of the elements based on atomic weights. It also marks the 175th anniversary of his birth in Tolbosk, Siberia. The history of the development of periodic tables of the chemical elements is briefly reviewed beginning with the presentation by Dmitri Mendeleev and his associate Nikolai Menshutkin of their original 1869 table based on atomic weights. The value, as well as the sometimes negative effects, of periodic tables in guiding the discovery of new elements based on their predicted chemical properties is assessed. It is noteworthy that the element with Z=101 (mendelevium) was identified in 1955 using chemical techniques. The discoverers proposed the name mendelevium to honor the predictive power of the Mendeleev Periodic Table. Mendelevium still remains the heaviest element to have been identified first by chemical rather than nuclear or physical techniques. The question concerning whether there will be a future role for the current form of the periodic table in predicting chemical properties and aid in the identification of elements beyond those currently known is considered.