The periodic table of the chemical elements is a tabular method of displaying the chemical elements.
Although precursors to this table exist, its invention is generally credited to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869.
Mendeleev intended the table to illustrate recurring ('periodic') trends in the properties of the elements.
The layout of the table has been refined and extended over time, as new elements have been discovered, and new theoretical models have been developed to explain chemical behavior.
The periodic table is now ubiquitous within the academic discipline of chemistry, providing an extremely useful framework to classify, systematize and compare all the many different forms of chemical behavior.
The table has also found wide application in physics, biology, engineering, and industry. The current standard table contains 117 confirmed elements as of October 16, 2006 (while element 118 has been synthesized, element 117 has not).
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