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Science

The periodic table

Newlands' octaves

A table in order of relative atomic mass

John Newlands (1837 - 1898)

An English scientist called John Newlands put forward his law of octaves in 1864. He arranged all the elements known at the time into a table in order of relative atomic massrelative atomic mass: The relative atomic mass is the number of times heavier an atom is compared to one twelth of a carbon-12 atom.. When he did this, he found that each element was similar to the element eight places further on. For example, starting at Li, Be is the second element, B is the third and Na is the eighth element.

Part of Newlands' table

H LiBeBCNO
F NaMgAlSiPS
ClKCaCrTiMnFe

Regular repeats

Newlands' table showed a repeating or periodic pattern of properties, but it had problems. For example, he put iron in the same group as oxygen and sulphur, which are two non-metals. As a result, his table was not accepted by other scientists.

Back to Patterns in properties index

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