Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev (sometimes spelled 'Mendeleev') is one of the greatest Russian chemists to have ever lived. One of his many accomplishments was devising a way to organize the known elements by showing that they exhibit a periodicity, or regular pattern, of properties when they are arranged according to their atomic weights. This meant that he could predict the properties of the next elements before they were discovered. Other investigations of his include the study of the chemical theory of solution, the thermal expansion of liquids, the nature of petroleum, and others.
His story begins in Tobolsk, a Western city in the vast region of Siberia. He was born on February 8, 1834, and was the youngest of fourteen or seventeen children (records do not agree). He was a handsome boy with curly hair and blue eyes. He was a mediocre student who learned science from his brother-in-law, who was exiled to Siberia for revolutionary actions in Moscow.
His father, Ivan Pavlovich Mendeleyev, taught at the Tobolsk gymnasium, or high school. However, he became blind soon after the birth of Dmitry and lost his job. Desperate to support the family, his mother, Marya Dmitrievna Kornileva, who descended from an old merchant family with Mongolian blood, built a glassworks (glass-making factory) in the adjacent town of Axemziansk. Because she was a good businesswoman, this business prospered. Marya was determined to give her last two children good educations, and she directed Dmitry's education, being fond of him.
However, before Dmitry graduated high school at the age of sixteen, his mother's glassworks burned down, and his father died of tuberculosis (an infectious disease prevalent in underdeveloped countries) when he was fourteen. Still, his mother, now poor, was determined to send her youngest two kids to college. She rode on horseback to St. Petersburg,