Before the Periodic Table, There Was Chaos

Before the Periodic Table, There Was Chaos
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

In the 18th and 19th centuries, several elements were being discovered almost every decade. This profusion of new elements with an ever-widening range of properties soon began to provoke questions. Precisely how many elements were there? Had most of them already been discovered? Or would there perhaps turn out to be innumerable elements?

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