The Periodic System: The (Multiple) Values of an Icon
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCentaurus. 2020, 61 (4), 287-298. 10.1111/1600-0498.12246
The periodic system is an icon of science, with an exceptional level of usage around the world. It is especially celebrated as a source of information and pedagogical tool. Although many publications on the history and philosophy of the system have appeared over the years, few of them deal with its underlying values aside from predictability. In this issue, scholars from different disciplines use the history of the periodic system to discuss what the system signifies and has signified for scientists and teachers, as well as for philosophers and historians. By presenting different layers of underlying values as they appear in the eyes of the users, we aim to provide a richer understanding of the periodic system, past and present.