Painting of the Royal Society displayed over the Society's main stairs
In 1905 the Royal Society awarded Russian chemist Dimitri Mandeleev the Copley Medal for his work on the periodic table. How did card games help Mendeleev in his groundbreaking work? See below...
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A Personal Note (Archive)
February 8, 2016
On 8th February 1834 Dimitri Mendeleev was born in Tobolsk, Russia. He would go on to a career as a research scientist. This is a short article, with room for only the most important facts; and one of the most vital things to bear in mind about Mendeleev is that during his spare time he enjoyed card games. It was actually the game of solitaire which helped in the compilation of the periodic table. Mendeleev wrote the weight of each element on index cards and then laid them out as if he were playing solitaire. He found that elements with similar properties formed suits, and could be laid out in columns ordered by atomic weight. This system worked so well that it was even possible to see gaps in the deck where elements should exist but hadn't been found yet. Subsequent generations of scientists have turned these cards over for us.
So happy birthday Dimitri. Einstein thought that God would "not play dice" with the universe, but as far as Mendeleev is concerned card games seem to be OK.
Historical news for February
The Jorvik Viking Festival takes place this month in York. The festival is a recreation of the "Joloblot", celebrating the end of winter. Events take place at a number of venues across York. Festival runs 15th - 21st February. For more information go to http://www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk/events/upcoming/
Battle Abbey is recreating a battle of Hastings for children this month. Participants are given an insight into the lives of Saxon and Norman soldiers of the time, and are then given the chance to pick sides. For more information go to http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/normans--saxons-106-15-02-2016/
The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern is currently hosting Abraham Cruzvillegas's Empty Lot. This display consists of a geometric sculpture containing soil from parks all across London. Nothing has been planted in the soil, and the only intervention over the next six months will be to provide light and water. For more information go to http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/
Anniversaries for February
1st February 1884: The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary A - Ant was published. The volume ran to 352 pages.
2nd February 1943: The Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end, with the capture of 91,000 German soldiers by the Red Army.
3rd February 1637: The tulip financial bubble bursts when tulip sellers in the Netherlands can no longer find buyers for their bulb contracts.
9th February 1964: The Beatles make their first apperance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
19th February 1910: Old Trafford football stadium holds its first match, between Manchester United and Liverpool. Capacity for this first Old Trafford stadium was a remarkable 80,000.
20th February 1933: The United States Congress proposes the Twenty First amended to the constitution to repeal Prohibition.
27th February 1812: The poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords. He speaks in defence of Luddite violence against industralisation in Nottingham.
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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Derick Fusco, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, Jane Barron of the World Rugby Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.