A Periodic Table of history lessons

This is pretty cool. Twitter user @jamiebgall tweeted this picture he’d made of the Periodic Table, showing each element alongside the nationality of its discoverer.


It’s so simple, yet it says a lot about different countries’ scientific programs and, if you googled a bit, their focuses during different years in history. For example,

  1. A chunk of the transuranic actinides originated out of American labs, possibly arising out of the rapid developments in particle accelerator technology in the early 20th century.
  2. Hydrogen was discovered by a British scientist (Henry Cavendish) in the late 18th century, pointing at the country’s early establishment of research and experiment institutions. UK scientists were also responsible for the discovery of 23 elements in all.
  3. The 1904 Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry went to Lord Rayleigh and William Ramsay, respectively, for discovering four of the six noble gases. One of the other two, helium, was co-discovered by Pierre Janssen (France) and Joseph Lockyer (UK). Radon was discovered by Friedrich Dorn (Germany) in 1898.
  4. Elements 107 to 112 were discovered by Germans at the Gesselschaft fur Schwerionenforschung, Darmstadt. Elements 107, 108 and 109 were discovered by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Munzenberg in 1982-1994. Elements 111 and 112 were discovered by Sigurd Hoffman, et al, in 1994-1996. All of them owed their origination to the UNILAC (Universal Linear Accelerator) commissioned in 1975.
  5. The discovery of aluminium, the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, is attributed to Hans Christian Oersted (Denmark in 1825) even though Humphry Davy had developed an aluminium-iron alloy before him. The Dane took the honours because he was the first to isolate the metal.
  6. Between 1944 and 1952, the USA discovered seven elements; this ‘discovery density’ is beaten only by the UK, which discovered six elements in 1807 and 1808. In both countries, however, these discoveries were made by a small group of people finding one element after another. In the USA, elements 93-98 and 101 were discovered by teams led by Glenn T. Seaborg at UCal, Berkeley. In the UK, Lord Rayleigh and Sir Ramsay took the honours with the noble gases section.

And so forth…