Main Menu /Table of the Elements

A New Table of the Elements

By Ed Perley

Several years ago, I created a circular periodic table that was designed to more clearly relate the progression of elements to electronic structure. It was based on a repeating pattern of 8, much like what most periodic tables are based on. However, in the process of designing my periodic table, I found that it became more difficult when I got to the transition elements. It only works if you put the last three elements of the series in Group VIII, which is rather awkward.

The Lanthanides and Actinides posed a more serious problem. I really could not figure how to place them in a way that made any sense. In most of the many versions of the periodic table that have proposed through the years, the elements in these two groups are placed off to the side. It was because of these problems, I never got around to putting any elements past element 54 in it.

My interest in the search for the "perfect" periodic table was revived by correspondence with Eric Scerri, who has published two books and a number of articles about periodic table design. It occurred to me that people have been trying to fit periodic tables to something that is not really periodic. Actually, what we are trying to describe is the numeric progression of electron orbital structure, which in its simplest form is: 1, 1, 3, 1, 3, 5, 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.

The table of the elements I present below is based on this numeric progression. In it every single element, including the Lanthanides and Actinides, fits neatly into a pattern that is quite symmetrical. Elements are no longer placed in the order of their atomic numbers. Instead, they are placed according to the symmetries of the electron orbitals surrounding them.

The blocks are colored to more clearly show the placement of metals, nonmetals, inert gasses, etc. I decided to color He as one of the inert gases, because of its chemical and physical properties, even though it has a different electronic structure from the others. I decided to not assign hydrogen to any group because of its unique chemical properties. I have also indicated the ionization potentials of the elements (Based on he Lange Handbook of Chemistry, 1961 edition), to indicate how the physical and chemical properties of elements are related to their positions on the table. The elements shown are from the Periodic Table by the IUPC.

If you are interested in learning more about the Periodic table and its creation, there are several books by Eric Scerri that can provide you with a great deal of information. You can view his web site at You can also purchase his books through

To Main Menu of elements.htm
Date last updated: January 2012