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Dmitri Mendeleev

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Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, world-famous russian chemist

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev is recognized as one of science's most highly rewarded chemists in the history of Russia. He was born in 1834 and passed away in 1907. [1] Mendeleev is known for his reputation as an inventor and developing chemistry theories in Russia. He is considered as being the first to create a first edition of the Periodic Table of Elements; this was his greatest accomplishment and by using it, he was able to develop three new elements and the attributes of other elements that had not yet been identified. He had spent almost a quarter of his life harvesting data and research and dedicating it to his work on the periodic table. The difference between Mendeleev's periodic table and the modern periodic table is that Mendeleev's aligned the elements by their atomic mass. The modern periodic table orders the elements by their atomic number. Mendleev was an extremely famous figure in the science world until his death in 1907. [2]


Early Life

Dmitri Mendeleev was born on February 7th,1834, in Tobolsk, Siberia. [3] He was a blonde-haired and blue-eyed boy who was the youngest of fourteen children. His mother was Maria Dmitrievna Korniliev and his father was Ivan Pavlovitch Mendeleev. His father died when Mendeleev was young and left his wife to provide for the large family. Her family brought glass making to Tobolsk, Siberia; they owned a glass factory where she was given a management position with a wage from which she was able to take care of her family. It appeared to several that Dmitri was his mother's favorite because of her reputation for giving him as many opportunities as she possibly could. Ever since he was a little boy, his mother had began saving up for his college fund, so that one day he would be able to be a student at the university.[4] He showed great interest in studies such as math, geography, and physics. He had a keen memory and showed that he had an intelligent ability for learning. After his years of early education, he continued his studies at the Main Pedagogical Institute of St. Petersburg, which happened to be his deceased father's alma mater. [5]

Later Years

In 1850, Mendeleev was entered into St. Petersburg and was granted a full scholarship for his studies in the Science Teacher Training program. Soon after, his mother died from tuberculosis. Mendeleev picked up his studies immediately and continued to maintain his reputation as a hard worker. In his third year, he became extremely ill and was on bed rest for the entire year. However, he managed to keep up with his school work with the help of his teachers and fellow students. The following year, he was awarded for graduating top in his class. Mendeleev was still very sick and the doctors diagnosed him with tuberculosis. They gave him a maximum of two years to live, given the fact he must move to a better climate. He ended up moving in 1855, to Simferopol in the Crimean Peninsula, located near the Black Sea. After his move, he slowly began to regain his health and doctors later found that he no longer had tuberculosis in his system. [4] Then in 1856, Mendeleev decided to return to his alma mater. After completing his master's program, Mendeleev dedicated his life to his career of scientific research and teachings. In 1859, the Minister of Public Instruction gave him an assignment to leave the country and study in other areas. He was then supposed to develop new scientific innovations. He met Henri Victor Regnault, a chemist in France, and focused his studies on the densities of gases. He also worked with Gustav Kirchoff on the spectroscope in Heidelberg.[5]
After his discovery of the periodic law and the organization of organic chemistry through his periodic table, academicians encouraged Mendeleev's name and suggested that he take over the unoccupied spot of chemical technology of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. However, on November 11, 1880, the world of science was shocked to learn that Mendeleev's proposal for the position had been rejected. There were several reasons as to why he was turned down. One of them being that Court Tolstoy, the minister of public education and who later took over as president of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, wanted to shut Meneleev down because he disagreed with over-excessive teachings of science in Russian schools. Universities all around the world were angry for Meneleev and displayed it by picking him as an honorary member for each of their organizations. Both Cambridge and Oxford University delegated him as an honorary scholar. [5]

Periodic Table

Mendeleev's 1869 Periodic Table

Dmitri Mendeleev's greatest accomplishment is known as the stating of the Periodic Law and his development of the Periodic Table. He knew early on that there must have been some form of sequence for the elements. Mendeleev spent more than thirteen years of his life dedicating it to collecting research and data and trying to come up with the concept for the table. [4] He had a desire to come up with a publication that would supply a structure for present chemical and physical theory. By Mendeleev's time, many scientists had already discovered approximately sixty different elements. While he was studying, the atom was thought to be the most simple particle of matter. Electrons, protons, and neutrons were not discovered until later. Mendeleev was able to determine the atomic weight of each element. This means that he was able to figure out how heavy the element's atoms were in comparison to an atom that belonged to hydrogen, which is the lightest element. [6] Whenever a gap came up in the table, he would predict that a new element would someday belong in that gap. His assumptions were correct and during his lifetime, three new elements were discovered: gallium, scandium, and germanium. The discovery of these elements only confirmed Mendeleev's theories and provided a strong backbone for his periodic table.[7] He discovered gallium in 1874, scandium in 1879, and germanium in 1885. [5]He was quoted on his studies, saying:

I began to look about and write down the elements with their atomic weights and typical properties, analogous elements and like atomic weights on separate cards, and this soon convinced me that the properties of elements are in periodic dependence upon their atomic weights. --Mendeleev, Principles of Chemistry, 1905, Vol. II

In 1869, Mendeleev was able to come up with detailed renditions of 60+ elements. Then on March 6 of the same year, Mendeleev fell ill, resulting in his colleague giving a validated presentation alone to the Russian Chemical Society which was labeled, "The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements." His presentation consisted of eight different points:

  • The elements, if arranged according to their atomic weights, exhibit an apparent periodicity of properties.
  • Elements which are similar as regards their chemical properties have atomic weights which are either of nearly the same value (eg. Pt, Ir, Os) or which increase regularly (eg. K, Ru, Cs).
  • The arrangement of the elements, or of groups of elements in the order of their atomic weights, corresponds to their so-called valencies, as well as, to some extent, to their distinctive chemical properties; as is apparent among other series in that of Li, Be, Ba, C, N, O, and Sn.
  • The elements which are the most widely diffused have small atomic weights.
  • The magnitude of the atomic weight determines the character of the element, just as the magnitude of the molecule determines the character of a compound body.
  • We must expect the discovery of many as yet unknown elements-for example, elements analogous to aluminum and silicon- whose atomic weight would be between 65 and 75.
  • The atomic weight of an element may sometimes be amended by a knowledge of those of its contiguous elements. Thus the atomic weight of tellurium must lie between 123 and 126, and cannot be 128.
  • Certain characteristic properties of elements can be foretold from their atomic weights.

There were still a few setbacks to his periodic table. His table struggled with supplying room for the rare-earth group. There was also no room for the immobile chemical elements such as helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon. [5] In 1870, late November, Mendeleev decided to deepen his studies by making a statement that said it was possible to foretell the properties of elements that had yet to be discovered. He continued by making predictions for three new elements: radon, aluminum, and silicon. He started to predict many physical properties of each, densities, and ratios with oxygen. Many people in the science world believed Mendeleev was foolish. However, when in November of 1875, Frenchman Lecoq de Boisbaudran contrived one of Mendleev's predicted elements: aluminum, which he changed to gallium. After this discovery, Mendleev's theories were taken more seriously. [4]

Other Achievements

Dmitri Mendeleev

Following his great accomplishment, the periodic table, Mendeleev received various awards. He was awarded the Davy Medal in 1882, from the Royal Society of England. They also awarded him the Copley Medal in 1905, which is the Society's most noble award. He was given several different symbolic degrees from universities all around the globe. [4] Mendeleev was extremely focused to other topics in chemistry such as compounds and solutions. He considered solutions to be "liquid systems of unstable dissociating compounds of the solvent with the substance dissolved." [8] This belief meant in other words that solutions were just purely an instance of plain definite or atomic compounds, that were dependent on Dalton's Law. [8]
While studying physical chemistry, Mendeleev explored more about the expansion liquids with heat. He came up with a formula that was corresponding with Gay-Lussac's law of gases expanding and it's uniformity. He began studying this topic back in 1861 when he was studying Andrew's genesis of gases and their critical temperatures. He determined the complete boiling point of a substance "as the temperature at which cohesion and heat of vaporization become equal to zero and the liquid changes to vapour, irrespective of the pressure and volume." [8]The Russian Empire gave Mendeleev credit for the introduction of the metric system. [8]
He also created pyrocollodion, which is a powder that is smokeless and founded on nitrocellulose. This discovery had been supported and licensed by the Russian Navy. However, they did not end up using it after it's discovery. Then in 1892, Mendleev was able to organize the manufacture of pyrocollodion. [8]
Both of Mendeleev's publications, Organic Chemistry and The Principles of Chemistry earned Mendeleev high awards such as the Demidov Prize of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. [1]


Science starts with the measurement. Exact science is inconceivable without measures.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev Biography
  2. Dmitri Mendeleev's Birthday http://visionlearning.web
  3. Dmitri Mendeleev-History of the Periodic Table By
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev By
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Dmitri Mendeleev: Biography By
  6. The Periodic Table of Elements By
  7. Mendeleev
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Dmitri Mendeleev - Other Achievements