Memorizing periodic table

  1. has anyone ever memorized the periodic table?
  2. jcsd
  3. mendeleev probably knew his from memory
  4. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    Anyone got a good mnemonic gimmick for all those rare-earth elements? :uhh:
  5. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We had to memorize it when I was in junior high school. :yuck: But, there were a lot less elements on it back then. :uhh:
  6. G01

    G01 2,698
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    I always considered the periodic table a kind of map. The point of having a map is so you DON'T need to memorize the globe!:rolleyes:
  7. mrjeffy321

    mrjeffy321 881
    Science Advisor

    I have not memorized the periodic table, but with time and experience one will naturally begin to remember the names/symbols/atomic weights of some of the most common elements. I have memorized a pretty good fraction of the periodic table…the elements I am always using.

    I have heard from a friend that back when his dad was in college he had a test in which he was handed a blank periodic table and then asked to fill it in completely from memory…everything…including names/symbols/atomic number/atomic masses.
    I really don’t see much educational value in that, but it is quite probably something which someone could do with enough practice (at least the names/symbols part I mean…the atomic weights is a different matter).

    Back in high school chemistry we had to memorize the Alkali, Alkaline-Earth, Halogens, Nobel gasses, and few others elements and that was no big deal.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2007
  8. My old physics professor has it memorized.

  9. i think if you have it memorized it's easier to see the trends
  10. What would be the point in memorizing such useless information? Thats the whole reason why its ordered in a table for you to look up.
  11. mrjeffy321

    mrjeffy321 881
    Science Advisor

    Useless, I think not. I use the information on the periodic table everyday and it is not even my field of study.

    I do think that there is some value in having portions of the periodic table memorized, just as one memorizes the multiplication tables, but I would not go so far as to advocate memorizing the entire table so that you could recreate it from scratch on a blank piece of paper.
  12. Useless to memorize, I mean. You dont gain anything by memorizing a periodic table.

    I hate the concept of memorization in general.
  13. The table is already structured to show trends in orbitals and chemical properties.
  14. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,202
    Gold Member

    Dinosaur days? :biggrin:


    hey are you gonna reply to my pm? :devil:
  15. like i've said before. having as much knowledge ready on a whim is very important. it could mean the difference between making the connection between two seemingly disparate things and making a discovery and completely missing something.
  16. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    It is not necessary since one can readily find it on-line or perhaps print one and put it on the wall. But with time, one can learn the groups, e.g. alkali, alkali earth, halides and noble gases.
  17. I have passively memorized atomic weights for some common elements in high school chem such as oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, iron, silver, blah the list goes on.

    It definitely helps to a degree since you don't need to waste time looking everything up when you are doing calculations.
  18. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Spoken like a true engineer. :biggrin:

    We had already hunted all the dinosaurs for a huge dino roast by then. :rolleyes:

    Gaahh...I forgot about that PM. :redface: Send me a reminder in a few weeks...I don't have any time to reply right now (I shouldn't even be here, but I need some breaks from grant writing to keep my brain from leaking out my ears).

    I don't think memorizing the periodic table had any more value than any of the other things we had to memorize in junior high...nobody expects you to retain all of that information, but the ones you use most often stick, and the rest is at least familiar so you can generally look in the right places without having to look at every single element in the table to hunt for the one you need information on. Once you've finished learning the names of all the elements and their abbreviations (needed to find them on the periodic table), it really wasn't that big of a deal to remember them in the order listed on the table, which then gives you the atomic number and information on mass, structure, reactivity.

    Mostly, memorizing something like that serves as a time-saver if you need the information often, and that's about it.
  19. i had never seen that certainly corresponds to the "halogéneos" group in portuguese..(F,CL,Br,I and At) i guess.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2007
  20. I remember trying to memorize it but I don't think I spent enough time in chemistry to know this particular table by heart. I suppose most chemists know it as well as you know your multiplication table, it has a comparable number of entries. It's just a question of needing the data or not: you memorize what you need on a regular basis.
  21. mrjeffy321

    mrjeffy321 881
    Science Advisor

    The second from the last column (group 17) is referred to as the ‘Halogens’.
    When these elements form binary salts with other elements, those salts fit into the group sometimes called ‘Halides’….the “Hal” part coming from “Halogen” and the “ide” part coming from the naming convention of a 2 element ionic compound. For example, Sodium Chloride.
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