Talks about the creation of the periodic table and some of its elements

Essay by jonxjon February 2004

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The periodic table is one of the most important tools in science, or moreover, chemistry. In chemistry, scientists use the periodic table for almost every experiment they test and over the years, the periodic table has proven to be one of the best and most helpful discoveries in the field of science. Both the periodic table and the elements in the table have had a unique past and play a major role in the world today. Numerous elements are found in our daily lives and some are even found within an individuals body. Some of these elements, for example, oxygen have even proven to be essential to the survival of the human being.

It was once thought that only four elements existed. These elements were fire, air, water, and earth. However, these four Greek elements are not elements at all because they can be broken down into smaller, simpler substances and according to Boyle, an element is a substance that cannot be broken down into smaller pieces.

In the ancient times, Chinese alchemists wanted to find the "elixir of life". They believed that the elixir of life was a mixture of both sulfur and mercury. So while the Chinese alchemists sought for the elixir of life, the European alchemists wanted to find a way to change lead into gold. One European scientist thought that if you boil urine mixed with lead, you would be able to create gold. However, instead of gold, the scientist discovered a new metal, Phosphorus. Phosphorus is a deadly poison and is found in the brain tissue of a human being. Another element which has proven to be very poisonous and deadly is mercury. The interesting characteristic of mercury is that it is a metal, but in the form of a liquid. If...