Periodic table discovered at St. Andrews recognized as oldest in the world | 3/21/2019 | Staff
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A periodic table chart discovered at the University of St Andrews is officially recognised as the oldest in the world by the Guinness World Records.

The chart of elements, dating from 1885, was discovered in the University's School of Chemistry by Dr. Alan Aitken during a clear out. Now, following international media coverage of the find, the periodic table chart has been officially certified as the world's oldest by the Guinness World Records.

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Following the discovery in 2014, the periodic table chart was subsequently sent for authentication and to be preserved for future generations. Marking the International Year of the periodic table, the fully restored chart was unveiled at a special event at the European Parliament to celebrate 150 years of the periodic table in January 2019, hosted by former St Andrews Rector, Catherine Stihler MEP.

Mendeleev made his famous disclosure on periodicity in 1869; the newly unearthed table was rather similar, but not identical to Mendeleev's second table of 1871. The table is annotated in German, and an inscription at the bottom left, 'Verlag v. Lenoir & Forster, Wien', which identifies a scientific printer who operated in Vienna between 1875 and 1888. Another inscription, 'Lith. von Ant. Hartinger & Sohn, Wien', identifies the chart's lithographer, who died in 1890. Working with the University's Special Collections team, the University sought advice from a series of international experts to accurately date the chart. Following further investigations, no earlier lecture chart of the table appears to exist. Professor Eric Scerri, an expert on the history of the periodic table from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), dated the table to between 1879 and 1886 based on the represented elements. For example, both gallium and scandium, discovered in 1875 and 1879 respectively, are present, while germanium, discovered in 1886, is not.

University - Collections - Team

The University's Special Collections team...
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