Visual Exploration of the Period Table
This visual representation of the periodic table—made by photographer Mitch Payne, model maker Louis Standard and graphic designer Sean Docherty—is one of the coolest artsci representations I’ve seen recently. As Payne describes the project,
“The modern periodic table, based on atomic number and electron configuration, was created primarily by a Russian chemist, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, and a German physicist, Julius Lothar Meyer, both working independently. They both created similar periodic tables only a few months apart in 1869. Mendeleev created the first periodic table based on atomic weight. He observed that many elements had similar properties, and that they occur periodically. Hence, the table’s name.
His periodic law states that the chemical and physical properties of the elements vary in a periodic way with their atomic weights. The modern one states that the properties vary with atomic number, not weight. Elements in Mendeleev’s table were arranged in rows called periods. The columns were called groups. Elements of each group had similar properties. The periodic table can be divided into ten families of elements exhibiting common characteristics. These images try to illustrate those characteristics using abstract photography”
This project is both art and education. As Payne states, they wanted to do a project that not only allowed for artistic impression, but also to create a body of educational work for a different demographic. The trio aim to add an interesting and creative spin to something that some may perceive as dull an un-inspiring. Once you know the wonder, you can’t go back. For more on Payne’s work, click here.
- Lee Jones