A scientist accidentally found the oldest version of the periodic table.

Sometimes you can find truly amazing.and incredibly valuable things, conducting a general cleaning of the room, where this cleaning was never really carried out. Do not believe? Just ask the chemistry doctor Alan Aitken from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), who in 2014 spent a whole month of his life cleaning up the storage room of the chemistry department, which was not properly cleaned since its opening in 1968 year Amid all the confusion that had accumulated there for many years, Aitken found a bunch of rolled up training tables. Imagine the surprise of a scientist when, in the midst of all this rubbish, a unique relic of scientific history appeared before his eyes.

When Dr. Aitken unfolded one of the collapsedtables, he found before him one of the earliest versions of the periodic table of chemical elements. In the upper part of the table there was an inscription in German: "Periodische Gesetzmässigkeit der Elemente nach Mendeleieff", which means "Periodic system of elements according to Mendeleev." As the table lay in this storage room for many years, it became very fragile. At the moment when Aitken unfolded it for the first time, several pieces of paper came off the paper, but the main text was not affected. The poor state of the paper made the scientist understand that there is a real artifact in front of him.

Detailed analysis of the table and its history confirmedthis guess. Yes, the table was very old. According to the university, it was created in 1885. Further research showed that it can be officially considered the oldest known educational tables of the periodic system of chemical elements.

Russian scientist Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleevpublished his first diagram of the periodic table in 1869 in the article “The Ratio of Properties with Atomic Weight of Elements” (in the journal of the Russian Chemical Society). In 1871, the table was supplemented. The table found at the University of Scotland is very similar to the updated version, but with some important differences.

"Discovered at the University of St. AndrewsThe variant is an early example. The table has annotations in German, and in the lower left corner the caption is “Verlag v. Lenoir & Forster, Wien ”, - pointing to the printer who worked in Vienna from 1875 to 1888. Another signature is “Lith. von Ant. Hartinger & Sohn, Wien ”- points to a lithographer who, as it turned out, died in 1890. During the work on the establishment of the origin of the table, the university turned for help and advice to many international experts. The study indicates that the earlier version of this table does not seem to exist. Professor Eric Sherry, an expert in the history of the periodic table of elements from the University of California at Los Angeles, believes that this version of the table was compiled between 1879 and 1886. Such a conclusion was indicated to him by the elements themselves, which are reflected in it. For example, gallium and scandium, discovered in 1875 and 1885, are present in it, and germanium, which was discovered only in 1886, is absent, ”a press release from the University of St. Andrews reported.

Follow-up analysis of old financial statementsUniversity showed that Thomas Purdy, a professor of chemistry, who worked at the university from 1884 to 1909, acquired the table through the German scientific catalog in October 1888. And the table itself was made in Vienna in 1885.

After establishing the date of manufacture and placeThe production tables of the leadership of the University of St. Andrews made the decision to preserve this amazing relic of scientific history for posterity. To this end, the university turned to its team of restorers. The necessary funding was obtained from the Scottish National Fund for the Conservation of Manuscripts.

Taking great care to stillnot to damage the paper more; the restoration team cleaned the table with brushes from the dirt and dust that had accumulated over the long years of oblivion. The paper on which the table was stamped was also carefully detached from the heavy linen backing. The work also used deionized water, through which scientists restored the text color. And with the help of Japanese kozo paper and wheat starch paste, experts were able to repair the gaps in the paper.

After completion of the restoration staffUniversities have created a full-size replica of the table of elements, which is now being demonstrated at the University of St. Andrews. The original table was placed for safe storage in a room with controlled temperature and humidity.

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