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Discovery of the elements – timeline

There is an electropaedia with a tabular timeline for the discovery of the elements. This has fascinated me since I investigated the introductory physical science course developed by the PSSC. That course traveled the history of separating things to learn about molecules and atoms and their relative sizes. You can see the impact of technology in the timeline.

The early period was up to the birth of Christ and included basic metals often found in nature. The ‘dark ages’ were a period of inactivity when it came to discovering elements and the ‘Renaissance’ started with a monk discovering arsenic in 1250 and another discovering bismuth in 1500. The industrial revolution shows up after 1700 when chemists and mineralogists discovered cobalt, nickel, magnesium, and the atmospheric gases. The invention of the battery in 1800 made it possible to separate elements electrochemically and that uncovered sufficient information for Meyer and Mendeleyev to put together a periodic table of the elements. The 1898 work of Marie Curie brought in the age of radioactive materials and transuranic elements.

The website has very good information on batteries and energy technologies as well. It may be a good resource for curves and graphs to cite when I encounter the kneejerkers that seem to show up every time I try to help RVers understand battery technology and engage in my personal myth busting efforts.

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