Mendeleev and the Periodic System

It was July 12, 1849 in Tobolsk, Siberia. Excitedly, the fifteen-year-old Dmitri Mendeleev clutched his high-school graduation certificate. As he studied the document together with his proud mother, Maria, he no-ticed a discrepancy: it read, “Age: 16 years old.” His mother nodded, knowingly: “Yes, the regulations do not allow anyone to graduate before age 16, so, rather than holding you back, they changed it—it was my suggestion.” Dmitri smiled, “It will allow me to enter university earlier, as well.” Dmitri had his hopes set on entering university and building a successful and prosperous life for himself. ...

  • Storytelling Resources

  • Historical Resources

A Primary Sources, English
Mendeleyev, Dmitry Ivanovich: The Principles of Chemistry I/II 1891, online available:
Mendeleyev, Dmitry Ivanovich: The Principles of Chemistry II/II 1891, online available:

B Secondary Sources, English
Gordin, Michael D.: A Well-Ordered Thing: Dmitrii Mendeleev and the Shadow of the Periodic Table, New York 2004.
Scerri, Eric R: The Periodic Table: Its Story and its Significance, Oxford; New York 2007.
Strathern, Paul: Mendeleyev’s Dream: The Quest for the Elements, London 2000.


see also