The periodic table to end all periodic table ridiculousness

March 28, 2010  |  Miscellaneous

A few centuries ago, scientists designed the periodic table to organize the elements we knew about in a way that was useful. Elements were grouped by similar properties on the horizontal and vertical. Somewhere down the line, more recently, someone decided to squeeze a different dataset into the same structure. It made very little sense, but it caught on. Maybe because it looked scientific and official. I don't know.

Now there's a periodic table of funk, typefaces, candy, and heck, there's even one for visualization.

So many tables. How do we sort all of them? With another periodic table, of course, and so without further ado, here is the periodic table of periodic tables by Bill Keaggy. Yay?

[via @EagerEyes]

15 Comments

  • Absurd. Most of the “periodic” tables (of desserts, of candy) really fail to exhibit any periodicity! I am a chemist by training, and this kind of irritates me. I will put in a plug for the periodic table of elephants designed by the American Chemical Society. It’s actually a periodic table of the elements, with a clever little elephant illustration for each element.

  • Yay?? No, boo! Boo, hiss, and overripe produce. (Although there’s probably a periodic table of the vegetables.)

    What do you do if you have no ideas? Make a periodic table. Of what? Who cares, it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t need periodicity, doesn’t need any order, any rhyme or reason.

    Just make it, and the morons will fawn over it.

  • euphrosyne March 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    “A few centuries ago”? The late 1800′s, actually.

    There is nothing inherently useful or interesting about a periodic table’s data presentation without the underlying periodicity of its elements. I join with Jon in sneering.

  • I must agree with Laura, although I come from a statistics, rather than chemistry, background.
    The periodic table of the elements represents a visual representation of a fundamental truth about the elements, the number of electrons in their outer shell. Thus, each column in the periodic table has the same number of outer shell elements, and similar properties.
    Another table should represent some property of its elements. To copy the layout of the periodic table of the elements with no meaning is the equivalent of constructing an exact replica of the Brooklyn Bridge in a field in Kansas: following form with no respect for function.

  • No fun allowed. Duly noted.

    • @Bill – oh no, fun is definitely allowed and encouraged. i’m pretty sure i was amused the first time i saw something foreign fitted into the periodic table, but it’s been done so many times now. it’s like a joke that’s worn out its funniness, at least from my perspective.

      • @Nathan – I think Bill’s entire point in making the graphic was to make fun of ridiculous the periodic tables. So you actually agree with the message of this periodic table.

  • Well, it’s colorful.

    Actually, I like the one for typefaces, being a bit of a font fanatic. But even there, I found no real evidence of periodicity: not the serif-ness, not line weight, not age, not most appropriate application… It is purely a ranking by frequency of use — and one might as well use a table or a list to get that across. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to have it on my wall, though…

  • sure, periodic tables are trite and almost always ridiculous but i don’t think the comments here are giving keaggy credit – he is clearly in on the joke and this is pretty well-done…

    • Agreed. Maybe those of you getting so upset over this could try maybe clicking on the graphic and reading the caption that Keaggy wrote? As in, the whole point of the graphic was making fun of exactly what you’re all complaining about. Sarcasm, anyone?

Unless otherwise noted, graphics and words by me are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC. Contact original authors for everything else.