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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Meyer’s spiral table from the second edition of his textbook (1872).

The tabular system of 1870 from Meyer’s “Die Natur Der Chemischen Elemente Als Function Ihrer Atomgewichte’” In Annalen Der Chemie Und Pharmacie, VII. Supplementband., edited by Friedrich Wöhler, Justus Liebig, and Hermann Kopp, (1870, 354–63).

Principles of ChemistryMendeleev vigorously opposed Meyer's method for representing periodicity with a graphic curve. He argued that graphs implied that there were no "breaks" between elements, or that there may be an indefinite number of chemical elements.1

Meyer and Sebert

Meyer’s later investigations reflect his philosophical views about the relationship between theory and experiment. After the publication of the curve, Meyer re-determined the atomic weights of elements together with Karl Seubert. This work culminated in Die Atomgewichte Der Elemente Aus Den Originalzahlen Neu Berechnet  (1883). Above, we can see how Meyer and Seubert included scandium (ekaboron).2“Introduction to Meyer’s Outlines of Theoretical Chemistry (1892).

1: Mendeléeff, D. (1897). The Principles of Chemistry. (T. A. Lawson, Ed.) (6th ed.). London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

2: Meyer, L. (1883). Die Atomgewichte der Elemente aus den originalzahlen neu berechnet / von Lothar Meyer und Karl Seubert. Die Atomgewichte der Elemente aus den originalzahlen neu berechnet. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel.