Study Guide

The Periodic Table Introduction

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The Periodic Table Introduction

Everybody has a certain item they just can't live without. Where would a doctor be without his or her stethoscope? How about Garfield without Pookie? Shmoop HQ wouldn't be the same without a continuous supply of burritos and cookies. For a chemist, that most essential thing is the periodic table.

The periodic table is the most important gizmo a chemist can possess. It's a toolbox, an encyclopedia, and a cheat sheet all rolled into one usually ginormous piece of paper. Seriously, has anyone ever seen a periodic table smaller than 5 by 4 feet?

The Periodic Table Resources


Visual Element Periodic Table
The royal chemists like to visualize—very Zen. They also like to give tons of information about the elements in the periodic table. All elemental information is available with a few quick clicks.

Periodic Table
Ever wonder what all of the elements actually look like? Find out here. Who knew that the element Rutherfordium looks like some guy. (Okay, maybe that's just the picture of Rutherford, but we can't be 100% sure.)

If you just want to get down to business, this is the periodic table for you. You'll also find orbital and isotope information here.

Los Alamos National Lab Periodic Table
Here's a simple periodic table, in classic national lab style—simple yet soothing. This table is so feng shui.

Chemical Elements
You may think it's silly to have so many links to so many different periodic tables, but every student has different needs and wants in a table. Once you find your "soul" table, stick with it.

Periodic Table of Comic Books
Ever wonder if your favorite obscure element has super powers? Find out if it was featured in any comic book ever.

Hunting the Elements
NOVA has scoured the web for tons of chemistry resources. If you have an iPad, they have a chemistry app for that.


Periodic Videos
Here's a set of videos where the elements are the star. Pick an element. Click the symbol. Watch the video.

Chemistry Element Song
You can't learn about the periodic table without hearing this song at least once.

Meet the Elements
They Might Be Giants and chemistry…you can't go wrong.

PBS Element Special
If you have an extra two hours on your hands and want to learn science history, this PBS special all about elements is definitely worth the time.

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