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Chemical Galaxy


Chemical Galaxy is a new representation by Philip J. Stewart of the periodic system of the elements, better known in tabular form as the periodic table, based on the cyclical nature of characteristics of the chemical elements (which depend principally on the valence electrons). Even before Dmitri Mendeleev produced the first satisfactory table, chemists were making spiral representations of the periodic system, and this has continued ever since, but these were usually circular in outline.

In 1951, Edgar Longman, an artist, not a chemist, showed that arranging the elements in an elliptical spiral with an upward tilt produced a more attractive and dynamic image. This inspired Stewart, then 12 years old, with a love of chemistry. Having just read Fred Hoyle's book The Nature of the Universe, he had the idea that Longman's design resembled a spiral galaxy. He returned to the idea many years later and published a first version of his "galaxy" in November 2004. His design seeks to express the link between the utterly minute world of atoms and the vastness of the stars, in the interior of which the elements were forged, as Hoyle was the first to demonstrate in detail.

Chemical Galaxy is intended primarily to excite an interest in chemistry among non-chemists, especially young people, but it is fully accurate scientifically in the information that it conveys about relationships between the elements, and it has the advantage over a table that it does not break up the continuous sequence of elements. A revised version, Chemical Galaxy II, is brighter and more legible and introduces a new scheme for coloring the lanthanides and actinides, to bring out parallels with the transition metals.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chemical_Galaxy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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