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Science

The periodic table, the alphabet of chemistry, marks the 150th anniversary

Paris / Recognized internationally as an instrument which facilitates the study of chemistry, the periodic table of elements devised by the Russian scientist Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeléyev marks the 105th anniversary and this will be celebrated with an International Year destined for its diffusion.

“The periodic table is the alphabet of chemistry, which, at the same time, is the alphabet of life”, explains to FE the president of the Royal Spanish Society of Chemistry, Antonio Echavarren, who will participate this Tuesday in the launching in Paris of the International Year.

Colloquiums, congresses, exhibitions and all kinds of activities will serve to remember this key instrument of scientific research and its creator.

All sciences have their heroes, biology has Darwin, physics Einstein and chemistry has few, among them Mendeleyev is one of the most important, Echevarren adds.

His discovery took place as a result of a chemical congress which was hold in the German town of Karlsruhe in 1860 to answer the challenge of ordering and giving a clear terminology to the known elements.

The Russian scientist realized that there were patterns of behaviour based on their chemical weight, which allowed him to establish an order.

And it went further. He realized that, in those patterns, there were gaps that he felt responded to elements that had not yet been discovered.

From this, he established a sorting system in a table that, in addition, left open the door to the incorporation of new elements. Until then disconnected, chemistry had found a lexicon on which to base their work.

At 35 years old, this scientist born in Siberia but who lived most of his life in St. Petersburg, could not imagine that his invention was essential for chemistry. When he devised it, 63 elements were known, but soon its flexible character proved very useful, as new entries were added.

Barely six years after its creation, as the Russian scientist had predicted, the gallium entered; and in 1879 the scandium did it, before germanium did eight years later.

The table was taking shape “to become an iconic instrument of great value”, points out to EFE the researcher of the Institute of General Organic Chemistry of the Spanish Centre for Scientific Research, Bernardo Herradon.

“It’s a key instrument to learn more about the instruments of the subject,” says the professor, who considers it “the greatest contribution of chemistry to the culture of humanity” and compares it with the numbers of the Pythagorean school in classical Greece.

Science has already identified the 94 elements found on Earth in a natural way. But since the artificial radiation was discovered in the 40s of the last century, it has not stopped working on the incorporation of others.

Its search is complex and requires a strong financial effort, so only four institutions in the world, located in the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan, work on new elements.

The last four were validated in November 2016, the nihonium, the moscovium, the téneso and the oganesson, although there are already indications that the 119 and the 120 are ready.

But the border, once again, is in space. It is considered that Mendeleyev’s table contains only 5% of the elements, since the rest are in the Universe in the form of energy or dark matter, not yet discovered.

The UN General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table and commissioned its agency for Education, Science and Culture (Unesco) its management, which will be channeled through a series of activities that will start tomorrow, Tuesday.

“The objective is to show the importance of the periodic table in scientific advances, but also to promote science among young people and expose the work of researchers, in particular women,” said the director of the Division of Scientific Policies of Unesco, Peggy Oti-Boateng. (January 27, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (2010):


Comprehension

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Question 1
En el texto se dice que...  
A
habrá actividades para conmemorar el nacimiento de un científico ruso.
B
la tabla periódica fue descubierta hace más de dos siglos.
C
se celebra el 150 aniversario de la creación de la tabla periódica.
Question 2
Sobre la tabla periódica se dice que...    
A
se desmiente que 2019 fuera declarado Año Internacional de esta por la ONU.
B
se descarta que 2019 fuera declarado el Año Internacional por la ONU.
C
se declaró el año 2019 como el Año Internacional de esta.
Question 3
Según el texto, está previsto que...
A
solo habrá actividades para los expertos en química.
B
se celebren diversas actividades para divulgar el trabajo de Mendeléyev.
C
no se celebre ninguna actividad para acercar la ciencia a los más jóvenes.
Question 4
Sobre la tabla periódica se dice que Mendeléyev...
A
ya la había creado cuando asistió a un congreso en 1860.
B
había hablado sobre esta cuando asistió a un congreso celebrado en 1860.
C
la creó después de que asistiera a un congreso en 1860.
Question 5
Mendeléyev...
A
ordenó los elementos conocidos según su peso químico.
B
descartó que fuera posible ordenar los elementos químicos.
C
siempre supo que la tabla periódica sería muy apreciada y valorada.
Question 6
Mendeléyev jamás vivió fuera de su ciudad natal.
A
Así es.
B
Para nada.
C
No se sabe.
Question 7
En el texto se dice que...
A
se descarta que en un futuro se añadan más elementos a esta tabla.
B
apenas aparecen unas pocas decenas de elementos en esta tabla.
C
se han ido añadiendo más elementos a la tabla periódica.
Question 8
En el vídeo se habla de...
A
un reciente descubrimiento científico en Alemania.
B
una muestra sobre los principales descubrimientos científicos del último milenio.
C
una exposición sobre unos descubrimientos científicos.
Question 9
Sobre Berlín en el vídeo se dice que...  
A
ha sido el centro de trabajo para muchos investigadores.
B
se descarta que alguna vez fuera el centro de trabajo para muchos investigadores.
C
ningún científico fue a esta ciudad para llevar a cabo sus investigaciones.
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