Memorizing the Periodic Table

Partly out of boredom, and partly out of irritation at never, ever knowing the atomic weight of a particular element, I have decided to embark on the journey to memorize the entire periodic table (well, all the elements up to and including Uranium, at least). But what would even give me such a peculiar idea? Well, blame Oliver Sacks. I was reading through his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat (excellent book, by the way, for those who haven’t read it), and I was particularly intrigued by his discussion when talking about numerical savants’ familiarity with numbers: Dmitri Mendeleev, the developer of the periodic table, carried around a deck of cars with the elements’ properties listed on them, and looked them over until he knew them by heart. I’ve always wanted to learn something this thoroughly (and, in fact, I had a set of cars like this myself when I was younger). So, there you have it. I’ll keep my reader(s?) abreast of my progress.

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