By Michael Banks
I can’t imagine a science laboratory that doesn’t have a periodic table hung somewhere on the wall.
I even have a periodic table application on my iPhone that gives you all you need to know about a chosen element (admittedly it is not one of my more frequently used apps).
Yet while generations of science students have learned the periodic table first developed by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869, Mohd Abubakr from Microsoft Research in Hyderabad, India, thinks he has found an alternative way of visualizing it.
Abubakr says the major disadvantage with the current table is, well, the shape itself and that it doesn’t help to describe the properties of the elements.
He suggests instead using a “circular form” of the periodic table. His ‘table’ has seven layers, which are each divided into 18 sectors. These sectors each represent the groups in the original table.
However, as with the original table, the lanthanides and actinides are somewhat isolated and are arcs around the main ring.
Although on a first instance it looks like a new way to represent the elements, I haven’t found anything that is fundamentally different from Mendeleev’s table.
Abubakr says that as the new model looks a bit like an atom, with hydrogen and helium near the nucleus, it is better than the current table when trying to teach students the table.
We will see whether the new table takes off, but I don’t expect any updates to my app just yet.