2723: Outdated Periodic Table

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Outdated Periodic Table
Researchers claim to have synthesized six additional elements in the second row, temporarily named 'pentium' through 'unnilium'.
Title text: Researchers claim to have synthesized six additional elements in the second row, temporarily named 'pentium' through 'unnilium'.


This comic shows figure 6.14 from a science text book, which displays The periodic table of the elements, but with only the first four elements (hydrogen, helium, lithium and beryllium) shown. Randall claims in the caption that you can use such charts to date a publication based upon the elements present or missing. While this is true in a sense - for example, Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson were first discovered in 2003 and named in 2016, thus charts made before 2016 would have the systematic element names Ununtrium, Ununpentium, Ununseptium and Ununoctium and completely absent before 2003 - Randall injects humor by taking it to the extreme and showcasing a periodic table from a book published just half an hour after the Big Bang, at which time those four elements were the only ones present.

From about 10 seconds until about 20 minutes after the Big Bang, the phase that is known as the Big Bang nucleosynthesis occurred. At that time, hydrogen ions (single protons) provided for helium in abundance and traces of lithium. Some berylium-7 was also formed, which is an unstable isotope having a half life of 53 days. Randall's science book was published when those four elements were the only ones in existence, even though this would be absurd since no life as we know it could exist with only these four elements to write and publish the book; perhaps it is why Randall's mysterious textbook seems and manages to reflect the direct state of elements existing in nature, even though the real life periodic table was slowly filled out based on what could be easily found and later synthesized. For example, despite helium being one of the first elements to exist, and still one of the most common in the universe (roughly 24%, by mass, with hydrogen being around 75% and every other element combined being the remainder), it did not appear in the earliest periodic tables.

The title text refers to how yet-undiscovered elements are given a systematic element name as a temporary name, until a more permanent name is decided upon. The names are based upon a standard group of Greek and Latin roots that read out the decimal digits of an element's unique atomic number (i.e., the number of protons) and adding "-ium" to the end. The claim in the title text is that, in the textbook with the figure, researchers claim they have synthesized six additional elements in the second row, temporarily named 'pentium' (atomic number "5") through to 'unnilium' ("one zero", or "10"). In reality, all these elements are well known as Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine and Neon.


[Subheading]: Figure 6.14
[Title]: The periodic table of the elements
[The following four rectangles featuring the large element abbreviation, with the full element name written below, in a typical periodic table style]
[Top row, far left]: H Hydrogen
[Top row, far right, detached from any other box]: He Helium
[Bottom row, attached directly below the "H" box]: Li Lithium
[Bottom row, attached directly to the right of "Li"]: Be Beryllium
[Caption below the panel]:
You can spot an outdated science textbook by checking the bottom of the periodic table for missing elements. For example, mine was published half an hour after the Big Bang.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang_nucleosynthesis BBN did only produce unstable Berylium-7 with a half-life of 53.22 days. Thus after 30 minutes there was still plenty of Be-7 left. -- 15:36, 11 January 2023 (UTC)

"unnilium" is a reference to "unnilunium", which was the name for Mendelevium (atomic number 101; from "un nil un", 1-0-1) before it was given a formal name. Therefore the 6th new element referenced, on top of the 4 already in the table, would be #10, or "un nil", or unnilium.

"Pentium" was also the first non-numeric name for the Intel family. Before that, it was the 80486/i486. 16:17, 11 January 2023 (UTC)

Then they chickened out and didn't called the next CPU hexium. -- Hkmaly (talk) 18:24, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
Maybe they considered the Pro, II, III, 4, etc. just as isotopes (or alternate oxidation states!).
Though then your criticism still applies to the Core brand (..., 2, i3, etc; although most of that range are clearly imaginary, as well as odd). 19:50, 12 January 2023 (UTC)
Because they didn't want to curse it. 12:41, 13 January 2023 (UTC)

I have a science textbook at home that doesn't have any elements in a periodic table, though you'd think it should. It has a very nice list of elements (with dodgy details, e.g. I think at least one of them was later proven to be two separate but tricky to isolate elements), but was written prior to the popularisation of Mendeleev's table. (i.e. post-1869, but not by much!) Now, obviously, I don't want to diss Randall's humour, but I have so few such retro-geeky things I can brag about so I just wanted to mention this in passing. (Also, when I actually did my own chemistry, the lab wall had a PT on it that featured the element "Hahniun", and some others since replaced/resolved differently. I sometimes still forget myself and refer to the wrong names if I have to answer trivia questions about them ) 23:45, 11 January 2023 (UTC)

It's a proleptic periodic table Sabik (talk)
Indeed, but your comment now makes me wonder what a pre-lepton table would look like. ;) 10:00, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

Is there a category for comics about the Periodic Table? I recall one from a year or so ago where the symbols were replaced with ones based on the modern names for the elements. Barmar (talk) 05:29, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

I think you mean 2639:_Periodic_Table_Changes. -- 06:35, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

After an edit, I was left with and adding an -[LINEWRAP HERE]ium at the end, at least on my display (may depend on browser/display width, etc). If I adjusted the to bring the characters away from the line-wrap point then it could just break again whenever/wherever it found itself back in the same bit of the screen again, so I tried to quote it, but got and adding an "-[LINEWRAP HERE]ium" at the end anyway. If anyone can recall how to implement a 'non-breaking non-space' character, or perhaps wishes to aplly a whole wrap-preventing enclosing tag, then I invite them to apply it there. Assuming it isn't edited out of existence, already, and making the issue moot. ;) 16:27, 12 January 2023 (UTC)

Replaced the hyphen with a non-breaking hyphen -- 16:22, 21 February 2023 (UTC)

Would this shape of periodic table (with helium separated from lithium and beryllium) make sense before atoms existed? Would researchers from T+90 minutes even see "periods" as a useful way to organize elements? 15:04, 13 January 2023 (UTC)

I wouldn't say no life imaginable could exist half an hour after the Big Bang. Stephen Baxter has written stories with civilizations existing before the inflationary period. -- 07:46, 15 January 2023 (UTC)

This comic was a joke, but this is actually how NCERT textbooks are. The most recent edition is 2006. Link: https://ncert.nic.in/textbook.php