Bernal Seminar by Dr Mikhail V. Kurushkin, ITMO University,Russia

Monday, 10 December 2018 10h00, MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension

PRESENTATION BY Dr Mikhail V. Kurushkin
ITMO University, Russia

32-column Periodic Table and Left-step Periodic Table United

The pursuit of optimal representation of the Periodic Table has been a central topic of interest for chemists, physicists, philosophers and historians of science for decades (Leigh, 2009; Scerri, 2009). Should the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements first and foremost serve the needs of chemists as implied by its name? Or should it start from considerations of before quantum mechanics and thus be more appealing to physicists (Scerri, 2010, 2012b)? Is there a representation which overcomes this problem? The Periodic Table is from a fundamental point of view a graphic representation of periodicity as a phenomenon of nature. While the 32-column Periodic Table, popularized by Glenn T. Seaborg, is considered by chemists the most scientifically correct representation (Scerri, 2012a), physicists apparently prefer the Left-step Periodic Table above all (Scerri, 2005; Stewart, 2010). Alternatively, it is suggested that a rigorously fundamental representation of periodicity could only take the form of a spiral as, evidently, the abrupt periods of 2-D Periodic Tables contradict the gradual increase of atomic number, and the spiral representation reconciles this debate (Imyanitov, 2016). An optimal representation is eagerly sought after both for the needs of philosophy of chemistry and chemical education as their never-ending dialogue secures a thorough methodology of chemistry. The aim of the present work is to show that the 32-column Periodic Table and the Left-step Periodic Table can co-exist in mutual tolerance in a form of what Philip Stewart has already called Kurushkin’s Periodic Table (Kurushkin, 2017), Figure 1 below.

Addition of another s-block to the left of the Left-step Periodic Table is conditional as, obviously, the number of s-elements is not doubled, but the Periodic Table in Figure 1 is to be rolled into a spiral so that the left and right s-blocks are merged together and the number of elements is exactly 118. Hence, the suggested Periodic Table is a 2-D spiral Periodic Table. If the chemical relationships among the elements are to be taken into the account, the s-block should appear on the far left side of the Left-step Periodic Table, thus uniting the two outstanding versions into one.


  1. Imyanitov, N. S. (2016). Spiral as the fundamental graphic representation of the Periodic Law. Blocks of elements as the autonomic parts of the Periodic System. Foundations of Chemistry, 18(2).
  2. Kurushkin, M. (2017). Building the Periodic Table Based on the Atomic Structure. Journal of Chemical Education, 94(7), 976–979.
  3. Leigh, G. J. (2009). Periodic Tables and IUPAC. Chemistry International, 31(1), 4–6.
  4. Scerri, E. R. (2005). Presenting the left-step Periodic Table. Education in Chemistry, 42(5), 135–136.
  5. Scerri, E. R. (2009). The dual sense of the term “element,” attempts to derive the madelung rule, and the optimal form of the periodic table, if any. International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, 109(5), 959–971.
  6. Scerri, E. R. (2010). Explaining the periodic table, and the role of chemical triads. Foundations of Chemistry, 12(1), 69–83.
  7. Scerri, E. R. (2012a). Mendeleev’s Periodic Table Is Finally Completed and What To Do about Group 3? Chemistry International,34(4), 28–31.
  8. Scerri, E. R. (2012b). What is an element? What is the periodic table? And what does quantum mechanics contribute to the question? Foundations of Chemistry, 14(1).
  9. Stewart, P. J. (2010). Charles Janet: Unrecognized genius of the periodic system. Foundations of Chemistry, 12(1).


In 2012, Mikhail Kurushkin graduated from PolyTech (Engineer in Nanomaterials) and then became a PhD student also at PolyTech where he received his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry in 2016. Dr Kurushkin became an Associate Professor at PolyTech in Autumn 2017. Later that year he received the title “International Engineering Educator ING.PAED.IGIP”. In February 2018, Dr Kurushkin became an Associate Professor at ITMO University. September 2018 – present:  Associate Professor Ordinarius (ITMO University). He is the chair of the Organising Committee of Mendeleev 150 conference

Tea/coffee will be available at 09h45

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