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The periodic table can be seen in many places, from a poster in a science lab to towels, mugs, shirts and more. But, as a way to organize all the elements, the building blocks of the universe itself, it does its job very well. Scientists began collecting elements for it in the 1700s and 1800s and slowly began identifying new ones over the course of time and noticed similarities and differences between them, and started classifying them. One example is in Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev’s table, with intentional gaps in it so that other people could fill them in. Eventually, people did, and the table as we know it today was created. To understand how the elements are sorted, you need to know how atoms work. Atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, which are all some of the smallest things in the universe. The periodic table is arranged by atomic number (determined by the number of protons in an atom) with the higher numbers at the end of the table. The table’s strange shape is due to the classification of electrons. Atoms have 7 shells, or layers, with each shell having subshells, so the more electrons, the further right it goes. Each shell can hold more electrons then the last, and there are only two elements in the first row because they only utilize one shell for electrons. The extra two rows under the table are for aesthetic purposes, as the table would be too wide to comfortably read otherwise. The table has become a staple in popular culture as well, with t-shirts, variants with other things, and more. In short, it is “the chemist’s chart of all elements.” This article pertains to anyone who studies chemistry, as chemists probably use this every time they want to work on an experiment or study something, or just anyone who wants to learn more about how the periodic table works. This could be beneficial to those people because they just learned a new thing and expanded their knowledge. Good for them. For the aspiring chemist, however, this is an invaluable piece of knowledge, as this extremely helpful tool will help in their career.

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