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How to memorize the periodic table?

  1. Sep 6, 2011 #1
    So for my inorganic class we need to know the periodic table by heart, as we will not be getting one on our tests. While memorizing groups and periods in order doesn't hold that much practical sense (it would be much better to be able to just recall any element by it's number along with it's placement in the table) it is the only practical way for me to do it so that I can puzzle out where an element is on the table and from there figure out it's electron configuration or something.

    For groups 1,2 and 13-18, I am memorizing the separate groups. For the transition metals I have been trying to memorize them as periods (since I think it would be much more useful to know, say, the first row transition metals compared to a bunch of small groups with obscure elements like Seaborgium at the tail end of them all).

    Does this sound like a good method? This whole exercise seems silly to me, but I guess you have to start somewhere so that later on I will be able to easily recall any element.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 6, 2011 #2


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    For the 1st row of the transition metals, a (Scottish) chemistry professor taught me this mnemonic:

    Scottish Tele-Visions Can't Make F****** Color, Neither Can Zebras

    (of course this isn't perfect because you have to remember the order for chromium, cobalt and copper)
  4. Sep 7, 2011 #3


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    If you google "periodic table mnemonics" bunches of hits result.

    This is an interesting one (from Science jokes):

    "From: Joel Gordon <jgordon#NoSpam.taconic.net>

    Many years ago (1963) I was required to learn the entire periodic table
    (except the transuranium elements) for a course entitled "Advanced
    Inorganic Chemistry." While I did not have any mnemonics, I did find that
    the entire table can be PRONOUNCED, and I memorized it that way, a row at a
    time. I still receive requests from my daughter in college to recite it for
    her friends, an exercise which can make one feel like an incredible geek."
  5. Sep 7, 2011 #4
    Just watch this over and over again.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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