The Periodic Table: Crash Course Chemistry #4

Hello, I’m Hank Green; welcome to Crash Course
Chemistry. Today, we’re talking about the most important
table ever. Not the table where they signed the Declaration
of Independence, nor any table of contents, nor this table
right here, nor the stone table of Aslan, NAY! It is the periodic table of elements, a concise, information-dense catalog of all of the different
sorts of atoms in the universe. Today I want to talk a little bit about the
creation of this table, which is, to be clear, one of the crowning
achievements of human thought. To start out, though, let’s close our eyes
and pretend. [Theme Music] Imagine you’re in Siberia. And you’re a thirteen-year-old
boy. And your father, who was a professor but had
gone blind, leaving your family of more than ten brothers and sisters destitute, has just died. I know, downer. Your mom, to support the family, has re-opened an abandoned glassmaking factory in the small town where you live, largely because she wants to make enough money
to send you to school someday. A year passes – the factory burns down. But your mom, she sees your potential; she knows that you have a keen scientific
mind and will not see that squandered. So, with your siblings out of the house and on their own, she packs up your belongings, straps them to a horse, and with you in tow, rides 1200 miles through the Ural Mountains on horseback to a university in Moscow. There, on your behalf, she pleads earnestly
and effectively, and they reject you. So together, you ride another 400 miles to
St. Petersburg, to the school where your father had graduated
as a scientist, and as luck, or extreme, insane, undeniably Russian persistence, would have it, they accept you, and your saddle-worn butt, as a pupil. Your mother, having completed her mission, promptly dies. If you’re doing your imagining as I told you,
you might feel a tremendous debt to your mother, and a very deep desire to ensure that you achieve something on par with the sacrifices she made for you. And maybe that’s one reason why Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev became the crown jewel of Russian science, and a theorist who revolutionized how we see
the world. Mendeleev spent a great deal of time in laboratories as a student, studying the burgeoning new field of chemistry. He worked with all the elements that you could
work with at the time, and his knowledge gave him unique insights
into their properties. Those insights would come in handy. Let’s all imagine we’re Mendeleev again – I like doing that – and that we know a bunch of stuff about chemistry – which, you know, we don’t, yet – but we’re
imagining. So it’s the 1860s, and about 60 elements are
known to mankind, and their atomic weights are mostly known
as well. So the simplest thing was just to sort them
in order of their atomic weights. But interestingly, you, because you’re a cleverpants, realized that the most significant relationships
seem to have nothing to do with the atomic weight. Lithium, sodium, potassium, and rubidium were
all extremely prone to reacting with chlorine, fluorine, iodine, and bromine; beryllium, magnesium, calcium, and strontium
were all similar, but less reactive. But with a quick inspection, you, and to be
fair, a number of other chemists, realize that there was a relationship between
atomic weights, but it’s periodic. At the beginning of the list of elements,
characteristics repeat every seven elements. On the side here, we now know that it’s every
eight elements, but in the 1860s, elements were studies based
on their reactivity, so the non-reactive noble gases had not yet
been discovered, so the period occurred every As the mass of the elements increases, the
repetition starts to get a little less periodic, although it’s certainly still there; it just
isn’t perfect. Some of your colleagues, they’re saying: “Well,
such is life.” It was perfect repetition early on, but later
in the list it gets a little fuzzier. But not you; you become obsessed. Obsessed
with the perfection of the periodicity. You write out the names and weights and properties
of elements on cards; you lay them across your desk, shuffle them, tear them to pieces in frustration, until one day, you realize: that you’re simply missing cards. The numbers aren’t working, not because there’s
something wrong with your ideas, but because some elements simply haven’t been
discovered yet. Armed with this insight, you insert gaps into the table, and things suddenly fall perfectly into place. Seven-element periods for the first two rows,
with hydrogen in its own category, eighteen-element periods for the next two
rows. You’re so certain that you predict the properties
of these missing elements. And when a French scientist comes along and says that he has, in fact, discovered one of them, you argue with him, saying that you discovered
it first in your mind. And when you see his data, and it doesn’t
match yours, you publish a paper saying his data for the
new element he discovered is wrong. That’s how certain you are of yourself of this beautiful new theoretical framework you’ve created. And you know what the really crazy thing is?
You’re right! That French guy’s data was wrong! You, never having examined the element he
discovered, knew more about it than he did, because you are Mendeleev, Master of the Elements. Okay, we’re done imagining for the episode;
that was fun though. Different groups Mendeleev had identified are a lot of the same groups that we study today. Starting at the left, we have the soft, shiny,
extremely reactive alkali metals, so reactive, in fact, that they have to be
stored in inert gases or oil, to prevent them from reacting with the atmosphere. Alkali metals want nothing more than to dump off an electron and form a positive ion, or cation. And they’re always jonesing to hook up with
a hottie from the other side of the table. So of course, seeing as they’re so reactive, you don’t find hunks of them lying around in nature; instead, chemists must extract them from compounds
containing them. Next, you have the alkaline earth metals – reactive metals, but not as reactive as the alkali metals, forming cations with two positive charges
instead of just one. Calcium, shown here, undergoes a very similar
reaction to sodium with water, just a little more slowly, producing a little
less heat. The middle body area of the table is made up of a nice, solid rectangle of transition metals, these are the metals you think of as metal,
with iron, and nickel, and gold, and platinum. The majority of elements are metals – they’re
fairly unreactive, great conductors of heat, but more importantly for us, good conductors
of electricity. They’re malleable, and can be bent and formed
and hammered into sheets, and they’re extremely important in chemistry
but overall surprisingly similar to each other. On the far right, just over from the noble
gases, the halogens make up a set of extremely reactive
gases that form negative ions, or anions, with one negative charge, and love to react
with the alkali and alkaline earth metals. The rectangle between the halogens and the
transition metals contain a peculiar scatter shot of metals, metalloids, gases, and nonmetals; these guys don’t end up as ions unless you take extreme action and start shooting other ions at them, so generally a bit boring over here, though
lots of interesting covalent organic chemistry (we’ll get to that). Down below, in their own little island, are
the lanthanides and actinides, metals that were largely undiscovered in Mendeleev’s
day because they’re so similar that it’s next
to impossible to separate them from each other. And finally, on the far, far right, also undiscovered
when Mendeleev built his chart, the completely unreactive noble gases. Like a lot of other obsessive scientists, Mendeleev never thought he was done with his table, so he held it back for quite a while, only
publishing it as part of a new chemistry textbook he was working on as a way to make some quick
cash that he needed. And, as with many other scientific revelations, there were a number of other people hot on this discovery’s trail. As many as six people published on the periodicity
of elements at roughly the same time as Mendeleev, but a few things set him apart. 1. He was obsessive. He knew the data better than anyone else, and had spent a ton of time working on a theory that many people thought was just an interesting little quirk. And 2. he realized in a way no one else did that the idea of periodicity had far-reaching consequences. It seems as if he had a deep belief in the
cosmic importance of what he was doing, almost of religious fascination. Mendeleev believed in God but also he believed that organized religions were false paths to the unknowable nature of God. I like to believe that he thought he saw some
divine pattern in his tables, and Mendeleev felt as if he was coming to
know God in a way that no other man had. To be clear, this is pure conjecture. And as we now know, the periodicity of elements
is a physical phenomenon. It’s a function of electrons, which are in some ways pretty dang peculiar, but certainly not at all mystical. But we’ll get to that peculiar physical reality
in the next episode. The periodic table that we know and love – I
love it anyway – if a representation of reality; a way of understanding and sorting the universe
as it exists. But that form of the table is not by any means
set in stone; indeed, a contemporary of Mendeleev envisioned
the table set onto a screw, or cylinder, with the elements wrapping around from one
side to another. While Mendeleev’s table looks more like a
map up on a wall, de Chancourtois, a geologist, envisioned more
of a globe. Unfortunately for de Chancourtois, no publisher could figure out how to print his cylindrical 3D table, and so he published his paper without a graphical representation of his Periodic Cylinder of the Elements, and it was largely ignored. I guess they didn’t have paper craft back
then. I am a huge fan of this cut-and-tape model
of the periodic table; you can make your own – there’s a link in
the description – and there are also a ton of other designs
for periodic tables that have various advantages over the one
that we’re all familiar with. Our periodic table, as it stands, it really
a little bit unhappy with itself, frankly; the lanthanides and actinides really should
be part of the table, but we separate them out, because it’s hard to fit that on a piece of paper;
really, this is what it should look like. And really, it would be best if it wrapped
around into a circle, so that fluorine, and neon, and sodium were all next to each other, instead of being on opposite sides of the map, because they’re just one proton away! Mendeleev’s contribution, nonetheless, is
more powerful than at first it seemed. He ended up forming a guide to help future
chemists understand things that wouldn’t be discovered for 25, 50, even 100 years. Indeed, after Mendeleev’s theories were published
and accepted, the overwhelming cry form the scientific community
was “Why? Why? Why?” And although Mendeleev was not himself concerned
with this stuff, he actually denied the existence of atoms, or indeed anything he couldn’t see with his own eyes. It turned out that the answer to the first
“Why”, was the electron. That sneaky little electron; Mendeleev, if he’d been around to see their discovery, he would have hated them. But you, you will have a healthy respect for
them, after you learn all about them on the next
episode of Crash Course Chemistry. Thank you for watching this episode of Crash Course Chemistry. If you were paying attention, you now know: The terrible, beautiful, and wonderful story
of Dmitri Mendeleev; How he organized the elements into the periodic
table; Some of the basics of the relationships in
that table; Why Mendeleev stood out from his colleagues; and how the table as we know it today could
stand some improvement. This episode of Crash Course Chemistry was
written by myself, filmed and directed by Caitlin Hofmeister,
and edited by Nick Jenkins. The script was edited by Blake de Pastino
and Dr. Heiko Langner, our sound designed is Michael Aranda, and
Thought Café is our graphics team. If you have any questions, please ask them
in the comments below. Thank you for learning with us, here in Crash
Course Chemistry.

100 comments on “The Periodic Table: Crash Course Chemistry #4”

  1. ryebreadwheat says:

    Hey! Are you Copper and Tellurium? Cuz you’re so CuTe

  2. Account Suspended says:

    Why this vid so old but it helps

  3. [XIII] NOTE says:


  4. Eva Martin says:


  5. RandyClassicCarsFan says:

    wow, your Russian accent is so thick

  6. sharmasmita739 says:

    All the best chemistry jokes argon

  7. sharmasmita739 says:

    All the best chemistry jokes argon

  8. sharmasmita739 says:

    All the best chemistry jokes argon

  9. sharmasmita739 says:

    All the best chemistry jokes argon

  10. Wysp says:

    At 8:11 when Hank sounds like his brother John

  11. Marthadraws says:

    This comment section is 5% questions and praise comments 5% talking about the comment section and 90% chemistry puns

  12. sunshine petrichor says:

    my chem teacher's last name is na 😛

  13. Peg May says:

    Can we have a statue of that woman. Without her, we would have no Table.

  14. Alexander Fou says:

    yo yo yo yo yo 8-2 gang where you at?
    also, i'd tell you a joke, but all the good ones argon :L

  15. giuseppe3010 says:

    I drew a water molecule, but only got a MICKEY MOUSE figure!!

  16. omega gamer 666 says:

    I would make a joke about electron but people will just be "negative" get it no okay

  17. Science Folding says:


  18. HeyPop says:

    Can you imagine having as much confidence as Mendeleev? What an icon…

  19. Jed Wyer says:

    I want to buy these videos.

  20. nightmare sleuth says:

    cations are always paws-itively charged

  21. Dan Pham says:

    Y’all remember when radium was used for healing?

  22. Web .mp3 says:

    why can't I scroll up??

  23. sohan gangam says:

    this machine Pwns nOObs

  24. kai altayeb says:

    the periodic table is boring

  25. OliGirls Tales says:

    Im doing this at school soon and I'll be the only one who knows what it is thx for this video
    It made learning this subject fun

  26. Alowishus Devadander Abercrombie says:

    What do you call a benzene ring with all the carbons replaced with iron?

    A ferrous wheel XD

  27. Parikhshit Mukhopadhayay says:

    is hydrogen not alkali

  28. [ReC] Prathmesh says:

    he must have a big ego

  29. Regina Phalange says:

    I felt better as Mendeleev than I have ever felt about myself.

  30. irena Aneri says:

    The beginning story was unnecessary

  31. gage lesto says:

    So she left all the other kids for dead…

  32. Raja shankar says:

    Did mendeleev discover the ideal glass law?

  33. Moses Alazzawi says:

    Did Mendeleev know about Islam? Maybe that was the religion he was looking for since the Quran encourages science.

  34. hong zheng lim says:

    Walt disney:Hey doc
    Doctor:whats wrong?
    Walt:I laughed so hard i slap my neon that joke
    Walt:Now I need surgery on disney

  35. Liklei says:

    can i just say, "nonmentals" gee i wish i was that unreactive it would rly help with my sanity

  36. Significant Insignificance says:

    Video basically starts at 5:10

  37. Mr. Gaber says:

    Me: do you like to breath
    Friend : ye
    Me: O

  38. smitha nair says:


  39. Rose 17 says:

    i can’t imagine i have aphantasia

  40. Ari Pogue says:

    who else is here and 22 because the American education system failed them?

  41. Letise Falk says:

    Great Video very funny and I learn very well I have a Yr 10 Exam in 2 weeks So fingers crossed this helps

  42. Just For Fun Toys & Gaming says:


  43. Just For Fun Toys & Gaming says:

    Learn how to get back to your home and make sure your home is a boy or girl in the same room as you

  44. Just For Fun Toys & Gaming says:

    😀😁😂🤣😃😄😅😆😉😊😋😎😍😘😗😙😚☺🙂🙄🤩🤔🤨😐😑😶🙄😏😣😥😮🤐😯😪😫😴😌😛😜😝🤤😒🙁😔😕🙃🤑😲☹🙁😖😞😟😤😢😭😱😧😨😩🤯😬😰😱😳🤪😵😡😠😠😷🤒🤕🤢🤧🤮🤬😇🤠🤡🤥🤫🤭🧐🤓 my emotions about this video

  45. poppy rose says:

    Start at 5:00 for periodic trends


    i passed my test yes

  47. Tyrone Dodgson says:

    Why was the Helium a gymnast? He was good at valencing.

  48. Hernando Stefan Amisola says:

    Wow, Edu!

  49. HiccupsOverload says:

    Who else’s teacher is making you watch this video and you are scrolling through the comments so you aren’t bored

  50. Dos Potatoe5 says:

    he gets in and his mother celebrates by dying

  51. Colin Lee says:

    Were is Copernicium Nihonium Flerovium Moscovium Livermorium Tennesine Oganneson

  52. Mr Hill says:

    you are the only host of crash course I watch

  53. samdee pride says:

    Names and symbols of four newly discovered elements announced

    Elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 are now formally named nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts), and oganesson (Og)

  54. Policin Helicopta says:

    The crash courses rule. Quick and concise data with no exams. Perfect.

  55. Issac Walker says:

    "Hank you should be my chemistry teacher."

  56. Brett S says:

    Thanks gotta a test tomorrow that didn’t study for! You’re a savior

  57. Tasleema Morgan says:


  58. TSM i like men says:

    like for Tfue

  59. novu16 says:

    watching after med school , I realized I never tried understand periodic table in high school

  60. Aniket Gupta says:

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    This table is legendary
    And so are you

  61. Hernando Stefan Amisola says:

    3:50 einstein in the background (the middle of the pictures) before he was famous or even a scientist

  62. leonardo alfonso tapiero says:

    lik si eres del colegio sierra morena

  63. MINA Montero says:


  64. Hernando Stefan Amisola says:

    Whats on top on that factory 1:02

  65. 100 Subscribers But No Videos says:

    Mendeleev, Master of the Elements!

  66. Chandler Minh says:

    350 years before Mendeleev, an unknown Indian scientist living near by Modern day Odisha has written a treatise on natural sciences named *Gatimbhapada*. One chapter in the work contained precise details about over 76 elements starting from Hydrogen in the similar order as modern day periodic table.

  67. Joey Shmoey says:

    We should make a holiday out of mendeleev's mom's sacrifice 😥

  68. chandrasekhar m says:

    Vedio is not clarity

  69. México D.C says:

    no me tirare el año

  70. Fatima Zahra says:

    wait what was the element the other guy "discovered" and was proven wrong??

  71. sockington1 says:

    what a wanker

  72. Rissa :D says:

    lesson starts at 5:09

  73. Sandra Huber says:

    Noble gases must be fun at parties.

  74. Camille Remoreras says:

    your videos are so amazing and fun. could you share the app that you're using? 🙂

  75. milkshake gacha ùwú says:

    Tungsten, Hydrogen and Yttrium:

  76. Lukeff7 says:

    Im finding this particular crash course hard to take in. From the beginning I am paying attention but the one on measuring units and this one use some terminology that hasn’t been covered so its making it harder to take it in. I can rewatch and persevere though. I really like the idea of this one. 🙂

  77. Zane Zaferes says:

    Bruh for real this mans a god

  78. Corrine Lakat says:

    You’re channel is the only thing keeping me from failing 😌

  79. Fauzan K says:

    mendel af

  80. Mikeyz94 says:

    i came here to learn not feel

  81. Inchara Praveen says:


  82. sososoyumyum says:

    This video needs to be updated as there are other elements that have been added like 115.

  83. □Sqaure says:

    Y'all remember when they used einsteineum to drop one of the first atomic bombs? Those were the days

  84. lilepopinyou says:

    I legitimately just wanted to know about the periodic table of elements I’m so glad I found you here sir

  85. Mikail Imthiyaz says:

    mendeleyev was probably a bit mad…based on the behavior of the madman in a movie called'the proffesor and the madman'.

  86. jel says:

    How come lavoisier isn’t mentioned in any of these periodic table vids? He came up with the first extensive list of elements and differentiated metals from nonmetals.. that’s v important

  87. Harvey Tinseltin says:

    Smell number 9 With Senetiva Mind.

  88. Ethan Pearl says:

    0:23 I was like wow that's an old meme, and then saw the upload date

  89. Rifee Botswana says:

    Hank Green is a legend.

  90. Y1nY4ng GD says:

    Bully: punches me
    Me: y U bully me

    (Get it. U. For urani- ok nevermind.)

  91. Steve Jacob says:

    has anyone noticed what it says for the part in the video meh ill just give it to u 0:41

  92. Amy Manicom says:

    I personally like to think the perfect periodicity suggests an intentional design.

  93. Onur Aydemir says:


  94. Sofi Jagod says:

    So cool!! You made a great video! Btw, how did you done the animations?

  95. Koen Dettling says:

    this was a bit trash lolololololoolololololololololololoololololololol xdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxddxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxdxddxdxdxdxddxxlololololooloololololjk

  96. Rafa Almeida says:

    I am not fluent in English, but I wanted to study for this video lol, so I thought it was cool!

  97. mohneesh the führer says:

    i am a ge ni u s germanium, nickel, uranium, sulphur
    others: na

  98. Anna cobb says:

    even though the vid is old, what is your favorite element?
    I like arsenic, because in the periodic table song they are singing in such a happy tune then they say arsenic in such a violent way it's funny.

  99. Raymond Castillo says:

    Dis is my new favorite channel for learning stuff!!!thankyu!!!!!!!!

  100. Anik ratbo says:

    I kinda like old versions of the Periodic Table, I kinda seem them as works of art in a way

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