How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

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Tac-Tics
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How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Tac-Tics » Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:57 pm UTC

I'm on a bit of a chemistry kick lately. I kind of suck at chemistry. A lot. I always avoided it in high school, and my labs in college brought me to tears more than once. But I've decided it's time to try and seduce chemistry and see if we can make it as lovers.

Anyway. Something I'm wondering is how much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Obviously, I'm not asking "how many have all the elements memorized". But just in general, I want to know how much people have committed to memory. Do you know the names of the elements? For which do you know their atom numbers? Their group on the table? What other, more obscure numbers do you know (stable isotopes, molar mass, unusual properties)?

Again, I'm just curious. I know only the most common elements. Whatever is left from CHEM 140 three years ago. Even for the first three rows, I'm fuzzy on the exact order of some of the elements, but I can identify which are metals or nonmetals, which are transition and which are semiconductors, etc. And I know the ones whose names don't follow the English name, like Ag silver, K potassium, Hg mercury.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Tass » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:26 pm UTC

From Hydrogen to Meitnerium.

Really, I was bored in high school.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby achan1058 » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:50 pm UTC

Names, symbols, and valence of most of the commonly used and relatively common elements (including elements like zinc, lead, tin, and etc.). Atomic mass of the very common elements, like carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and such (but only to 1 decimal place, since that's what they ask us in questions most of the time). We get asked enough that it gets stuck in your memory after a while.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby PhantomPhanatic » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:58 pm UTC

Had to memorize them all in Middle School......although I've lost most of it, I can still identify every name by it's symbol and can almost always name a chemical compound from it's formula (obviously neglecting isomers).
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Charlie! » Thu Dec 04, 2008 9:27 pm UTC

Names and symbols is pretty easy. I know atomic numbers (and junk that can be derived from that) up to Calcium because I was forced to memorize them, with some extras because I had to use them at some point. I only know the weights for hydrogen, helium, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen (and on a good day chlorine), though. That seems to work fine, there's no real-world time when I cant just look up the weight of boron if I need it.

This is only knowledge useful for organic chemistry, though, I have no idea what's useful if you want to study, say, the material properties of metals.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby The-Rabid-Monkey » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:44 am UTC

I know up to Zinc and then I know splashes of them after that, Silver (Ag), Gold (Au), Uranium (U), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), etc. I know all the Noble Gases and the Hallides.
At the moment I can recall the atomic mass of;
Hydrogen - 1.00794
Carbon - 12.0107
Oxygen - 15.9994
Chlorine - 35.435
Nitrogen - 14.0067
Iron - 88.845 Opps turns out I'm mental, it's actually 55.845
Xenon - 131.293

I used to know the exact weights of the first twenty to four decimal places, where possible, but I've forgotten due to the fact I don't need to know that much. I also knew many others aside from that. I think I know most of them without decimals.

Oh and this periodic table is awesome, http://www.dayah.com/periodic/
Last edited by The-Rabid-Monkey on Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:14 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby mochafairy » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:56 am UTC

just memorize this song by Tom Lehrer :wink:

I have a friend who can sing it and play the piano part while drunk. it is of epic win.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby morvita » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:53 pm UTC

mochafairy wrote:just memorize this song by Tom Lehrer

I listen to this song before every chemistry test I've written, which has amounted to a lot after finishing a BS in chemistry.

I can't claim to have the whole periodic table memorized. If I try, I could probably name the first four rows (hydrogen through krypton). But, I can give the name for most of the elements when presented with a chemical symbol, with the exception of most of the f-block metals. Like many others here, I can name the atomic mass of most of the common organic elements (H, C, N, O, Cl). I think the more important thing is knowing the trends and being able to pick out accurate and inaccurate information when presented with it, which brings me to:
The-Rabid-Monkey wrote:Iron - 88.845

I don't know the mass of iron, but as soon as I saw this number I knew it was wrong. I know iron is the 26th element, meaning that it has 26 protons. It is still early enough in the periodic table that it has a similar number of neutrons to protons, so I would guess it's mass is somewhere between 52 and 60. (Note, this was done without looking at a periodic table, I just looked at one and its mass is about 55) Thank you The-Rabid-Monkey for providing me with an excellent example to prove my point. Because the periodic table is filled with trends, knowing those and being able to identify when something doesn't follow those trends is, in my opinion, far more valuable than actually memorizing every piece of information on the periodic table.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Tac-Tics » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:04 pm UTC

morvita wrote:
The-Rabid-Monkey wrote:Iron - 88.845

I don't know the mass of iron, but as soon as I saw this number I knew it was wrong. I know iron is the 26th element, meaning that it has 26 protons. It is still early enough in the periodic table that it has a similar number of neutrons to protons, so I would guess it's mass is somewhere between 52 and 60. (Note, this was done without looking at a periodic table, I just looked at one and its mass is about 55) Thank you The-Rabid-Monkey for providing me with an excellent example to prove my point. Because the periodic table is filled with trends, knowing those and being able to identify when something doesn't follow those trends is, in my opinion, far more valuable than actually memorizing every piece of information on the periodic table.


Nice point! I would never have even noticed just glancing at the numbers.

It looks like the correct value is 55.845 g/mol according to wikipedia.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby BeerBottle » Fri Dec 05, 2008 5:09 pm UTC

I can write out the periodic table - i.e. the element symbols in their correct positions, up to Lw, so from that I can work out the atomic numbers if necessary, given paper and pencil and 5 minutes. This is how you'd spend the first 5 minutes of an exam where no periodic table is provided. I also know all of the names. But I likely won't know the atomic number or mass of an element off the top of my head.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Sungura » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

Most of the elements I can do name <-> symbol conversion and I have a general idea of where most of them are (i.e. is it alkali, alkali earth, transition, non-metal, halogen, inert) and general idea then about them based on that (like someone already mentioned, the iron I thought, "uh, no way is it 88.something, that's too heavy").

The ones I use everyday I know more about (I work in a lab, biochem/some orgo) so K, Na, Cl, C, H, N, O, Ca, Mg, Cd I know molecular weights. I never took inorganic chemistry or got into that much so I tend to know the "sides" of the table the best. Cd is only because an assay we run uses Cd beads.

Also, I can't believe no one has posted this link to the University of Nottingham with the element videos (They rock!)
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby meat.paste » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:53 pm UTC

Sungura wrote:Also, I can't believe no one has posted this link to the University of Nottingham with the element videos (They rock!)

Yes they do!


If given a blank periodic table to fill (of a blank piece of paper to draw a blank periodic table on), I can complete about 90% of it (damn you Lanthanide series!) The periodic table gives the atomic number.

I know the atomic weights of
H - 1.0079
B ~ 10.5 (I remember that it is nearly 50% B10 and 50% B11)
C - 12.011 (except that C12 is exactly 12.000000000000000000000000...)
N - 14.0067
O - 15.9994
F - 19 (it only has one stable isotope)
S - 32
Cl's atomic weight is less than K's, which screwed up Mendeleev when he first put this form of the table together. Cl also has about 75% Cl35 and 25% Cl37 isotope distribution.
Fe ~ 58
U ~ 238
Bi has one of the longest half lives (~10^19 years)
Ga melts in your hands (and your mouth, I suppose)
Hg and Br are the two elements that are liquid at 'normal' conditions (25 C and 1 atm)
W (or wolfram, if you prefer) is the highest melting point element
Os or Ir is the densest element at ~ 13 g/cc (They are very close in density to each other. Some results have Os as the densest and others have Ir)
A great way to screw with students when they are doping the labs involving colored precipitates to determine what element is present is to give them a sample of TiCl4, which decomposes when it hits water.

And so on. Granted, these have drifted into the qualitative. Now I'm going to have to see how I did. (all I have to do is look at the periodic table on my coffee mug)

B = 10.811
Fe = 55.847
S = 32.06
F = 19.998 18.998 (I was thrown off by the binding energy) (Shifing back to standard units based on C12=12 and not C12=12.6316)
U is 238 on my coffee mug
Ga melts just under 30 C
Cl35 is 75.8% and Cl37 is 24.2%.
Os is 23 g/cc (22.61) Ir is 22.56 g/cc
W melts at 5657 C, which is the highest of all the known elements
TiCl4 is still a fun way to mess with students :twisted:
Last edited by meat.paste on Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:17 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Huh? What?

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby oxoiron » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:54 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:F = 19.998
At what sort of periodic table are you looking?!
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Sungura » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:14 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:TiCl4 is still a fun way to mess with students :twisted:

:D you sound like me.

I also like to ask at orgo lectures questions like, "So, you say dichloromethane didn't work, have you tried methylene chloride?" I am so evil. :P

But I digress.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby meat.paste » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:14 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:
meat.paste wrote:F = 19.998
At what sort of periodic table are you looking?!


Um, I meant the radioactive isotope F20, which decays with a half life of 11.4s and turns into Ne20. Will you buy that?
Huh? What?

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby BlackSails » Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:53 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:
oxoiron wrote:
meat.paste wrote:F = 19.998
At what sort of periodic table are you looking?!


Um, I meant the radioactive isotope F20, which decays with a half life of 11.4s and turns into Ne20. Will you buy that?


Nope, because molar masses are weighted averages over all the isotopes of a particular element.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby krikke » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:08 am UTC

Sungura wrote: University of Nottingham with the element videos (They rock!)

indeed they do, i have just now found out about these videos and find them awesome. they contain the basic knowledge that, everyone who's serious about his periodic table, should know.

...also the professors hair...lol wut ?

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Qoppa » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:54 am UTC

In the past, a lot, currently, not much. I haven't done chemistry for over a year though, and will likely never do it again.

I can do symbol -> name for about the first 40 elements, the other way around for fewer, the first 20 elements in order, and some atomic weights (hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sodium).

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~/d~/\\b\x7F\177l*~/~djal{x}h!\005h";(++w
<033)?(putchar((*t)(w??(p:>,w?_:0XD)),a()
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Sungura » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:46 am UTC

krikke wrote:
Sungura wrote: University of Nottingham with the element videos (They rock!)

indeed they do, i have just now found out about these videos and find them awesome. they contain the basic knowledge that, everyone who's serious about his periodic table, should know.

...also the professors hair...¡This cheese is burning me! wut ?

I know, the hair is great! It's perfect! And that one guy who just loves exploding things or blowing things up is fun too; those demos are the best.

(Gojoe told me that they have the word filter to do weird things now... "l.ol" now makes lol. "Chu.ck Noris" is now Chuck Noris. There are others too, I forget them.)
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby The-Rabid-Monkey » Sat Dec 06, 2008 2:13 am UTC

morvita wrote:
The-Rabid-Monkey wrote:Iron - 88.845

I don't know the mass of iron, but as soon as I saw this number I knew it was wrong. I know iron is the 26th element, meaning that it has 26 protons. It is still early enough in the periodic table that it has a similar number of neutrons to protons, so I would guess it's mass is somewhere between 52 and 60. (Note, this was done without looking at a periodic table, I just looked at one and its mass is about 55) Thank you The-Rabid-Monkey for providing me with an excellent example to prove my point. Because the periodic table is filled with trends, knowing those and being able to identify when something doesn't follow those trends is, in my opinion, far more valuable than actually memorizing every piece of information on the periodic table.


Whoopsie, don't know why I typed that, possible typing failure since 8 is right above 5 or something, but too long ago for me to remember why I typed that now. At least I got the decimals right though :P
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Azuris1320 » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:51 pm UTC

As a student of chemistry and someone taking chemistry classes for the last 6 years or so, I've got to say, memorizing the periodic table is just a waste of time. Here you're given the biggest cheat sheet in the world and you have people memorizing it.

What's important is just being able to visualize the periodic trends. Electronegativity, size, valence, reactivity and the like.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby oxoiron » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:23 pm UTC

Most chemists don't intentionally memorize it, they just end up with parts of it stuck in their heads. I rarely refer to the table anymore, because I have information for the stuff I regularly work with burned into my brain, although I never sat down to memorize it. Over the years, this has come to be a sizable chunk of the table.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby The-Rabid-Monkey » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:00 am UTC

The only piece that I went over and purposely learned was the table of Ions, because those are important to know. The masses to a few decimal places I had learned while we were covering that topic, but I've forgotten most of them now as previously said.

It's better to know where to find information you don't know than to spend time learning the information and not getting it fully correct.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby AFedchuck » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

90% symbols (ish)
First 40 elements mass to nearest integer.
Group of all s and p block elements (along with position in group). Know a few for the d/f blocks, and the period for most of them.
Know which block an element is in.
Again, it's pretty silly to memorise large tracts of the periodic table. You'll just pick up the useful bits as you go along really.
meat.paste wrote:B ~ 10.5 (I remember that it is nearly 50% B10 and 50% B11)
B = 10.811

I imagine you've noticed this already, it's not 50/50, it's pretty much 80/20 B11 B10.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby crowey » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:10 pm UTC

Elements/symbols, number and mass. It does get hazy around the lanthanides and actinides....
I don't know why I can still rememebr all that, since I am a biologist and haven't done any chemistry for 5 years now....

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Cynical Idealist » Wed Dec 10, 2008 2:34 am UTC

I can name a fair few elements, and associate almost every symbol with a name (give me the name of an element, I can probably tell you its symbol, or vice-versa). However, apart from a few specific ones, I couldn't point at the exact spot of an element on the table, and damned if I can say anything about the mass.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby lgc1109 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:21 am UTC

Only the s and p-block. Fuck the transition elements!

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby tantalum » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:14 am UTC

I know the elements that have an association to organic chemistry...
H,Li,Na,K,Cs
Ca,Mg
B, Al
C,Si,Sn,Pb
N,P,As
O,S,Se
F,Cl,Br,I
He/Ar

Ti,V,Mn,Cr,Fe,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn
Zr, Pd, Ag, Ru, Rh,
Pt, Au

These are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. If you see blaring missed entries (like rubidium), it means they have almost no occurence in organic/organometallic chemistry.

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby oxoiron » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:42 pm UTC

lgc1109 wrote:Only the s and p-block. Fuck the transition elements!
BOOOO!!
tantalum wrote:I know the elements that have an association to organic chemistry...
He/Ar
I'm confused. How are He and Ar associated with organic chemistry?
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby lgc1109 » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:27 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:
lgc1109 wrote:Only the s and p-block. Fuck the transition elements!
BOOOO!!
tantalum wrote:I know the elements that have an association to organic chemistry...
He/Ar
I'm confused. How are He and Ar associated with organic chemistry?



Oh come on...what have the transition elements ever done for you? :D

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:28 am UTC

I know the symbols of like 50% of the elements, but not a whole lot of the atomic numbers and whatnot. But then again, I'm a physicist and not a chemist.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Senefen » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:13 am UTC

I know the symbols for most of non metals, plus the first couple of rows of transition metals and the more commonly alluded to ones. I could probably make a decent guess at everything else.
I know the mass of all the ones I use frequently :D. So pretty much anything you find in organics, common acids and bases, common reducing agents.
Valencies of the s and p blocks.
There's like 8 starting with R or T, so I can't tell them apart :p.

I finished my chem major this year.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby v1ND » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:22 am UTC


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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Blatm » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:46 am UTC

I can name between 80 and 90 elements in this game. The second and 4th row transition metals and the lanthanides to a lesser extent kick my ass though.

I know the masses of elements that come up often in problems, i.e. H, Na, K, Ca, C, N, O, He, Fl, Ne, Cl, ... and a few odds ones like Fe, Hg, Xe, U, ... (The integer values only, mostly.)

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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby michaelandjimi » Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:07 am UTC

Tass wrote:From Hydrogen to Meitnerium.

Really, I was bored in high school.
I did this for $20 and in less than half the time I had to learn it.

I know weights of many of the more common ones, and can do most, if not all the symbol/element conversions.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby Sungura » Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:13 pm UTC

Blatm wrote:I can name between 80 and 90 elements in this game. The second and 4th row transition metals and the lanthanides to a lesser extent kick my ass though.

I know the masses of elements that come up often in problems, i.e. H, Na, K, Ca, C, N, O, He, Fl, Ne, Cl, ... and a few odds ones like Fe, Hg, Xe, U, ... (The integer values only, mostly.)


Woohoo I got 80 exact! It might help me do better if I could spell the dang things correctly. I wasted so much time trying to get them spelled! Oh, there are two "l's" in that? I didn't know. haha.
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Re: How much of the periodic table do you have memorized?

Postby particleinabox » Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:23 pm UTC

For the IChO (International Chemistry Olympiad) I memorized the first 50 or so...one of the other guys in the team knew the whole thing - he did it unusually by doing it group by group e.g. H - Li - Na etc rather than the usual H - He - Li - Be etc.

However, I memorised the amino acids and DNA/RNA bases for IChO, pity the biochem problem was on cholesterol oxidation or something :(


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