A Periodic Table of the Elements,
the Electronic Structure of the Atoms
September 14, 2000
There are some well known alternatives to the (present form) of Mendeleev’s Table of Elements. A quite natural one is obtained when
starting from a simple arrangement of the energy levels of the atoms.
Energy Levels of the Atoms and Periodic Table
The order in which the energy levels of atoms is ﬁlled is well known (e.g., Pauling, 1947): 1s, 2s, 2p, 3s, 3p, 4s, 3d, 4p, 5s, 4d, 5p, 6s, 4f,
5d, 6p, 7s, 5f, 6d, 7p... Although not obvious, it is not hard to discover the regularity behind this list, and this regularity is expressed
by the stair-like structure at the bottom of ﬁgure 1, that has to be read in the normal reading sense (i.e., from top to bottom and from
left to right). Placing in this ordered Table of Energy Levels the atoms that successively ﬁll them (i.e., the consecutive atomic numbers)
directly produces the “Periodic” Table of the Elements. Then, by construction, the particular electronic structure of a particular element
can directly be read in the Table, as exempliﬁed by the element S (see bottom of ﬁgure 1). Figure 2 presents a simpliﬁed version of the
Personal note: I built this table while I was a young student (back in 1975), and always thought that this was not enough material
to prepare a bona ﬁde publication. Since then, I have never seen a Periodic Table as simple as this one. Perhaps it is time to render it
universally accessible in electronic form. From where this submission. Please let me know if there is any similar version of the Table already
published, that, for some reason, remains in the shadow. I will make every eﬀort to make it known.
Pauling, L., 1947, General Chemistry, L. Pauling, Dover Publications Inc, New York.
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, 4 place Jussieu, 75005 Paris, France; mailto:email@example.com .