Posts Tagged ‘physicists’

Mendeleev (dilettante) versus Moseley (Scientist)

March 22, 2010

It was pleasing to see Professor Al-Khalili give due respect to Henry Moseley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Moseley).
on his BBC program about the Periodic Table (http://www.downarchive.com/movies/documentary/88061-bbc-chemistry-a-volatile-history-s01e01.html).

It is annoying that most of the credit is given, by Chemists, to  Mendeleev, who essentially combined patterns of element behaviour that had been observed by others. Until Moseley derived his equation relating the Atomic Number to the wavelength of the characteristic X-rays, there was no truly Scientific basis for the construction of a Periodic Table.
The adherence of Chemists to Mendeleev is understandable, as most of their work owes itself to the study of Physics, whereas Mendeleev allows them to harken back to their Alchemical ancestry.