Mendeleyev

So, yesterday was Mendeleyev’s birthday, and how can we honor him better than by making a post about him? (Answer: making a post about him on his birthday)

Who is Mendeleyev? As you may know because of the Doodle Google made yesterday, he was the inventor of the Periodic Table, but his story is deeper than that.

His mother died after riding a horse for days to take him to the University of Moscow, which rejected him because of his Siberian origin, and to St. Petersburg’s, where he was accepted.

He became obsessed, almost religiously, with finding some order in the elements. Day and night, he looked at the properties the elements had, and thought of ways to order them.

It wasn’t until 1868 when, during a cold Russian night, the Periodic table appeared on his dreams. As he woke up, he took note of it, and realized how much sense it made.

By ordering them according to their atomic weight on rows made of eight elements, and leaving some gaps here and there for elements yet to discover, he found that each column had certain common characteristics.

Then, a French scientist comes in, claiming having discovered a new element that fits on one of the gaps of the table, but that doesn’t follow the behavior predicted by Mendeleyev. And what does our Russian friend do? Publish a paper explaining why the French guy is wrong and he isn’t. And he was right.

But his only discover was not the Periodic Table, oh, no. He promoted fertilizers, improved many scientific tools, made Russia a Metric country, and invented pyrocollodion.

And he’s dead.

 

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