OT:Periodic Table of Elements by Country of Discovery

This is a bit off topic, but I think interesting and relevant here, since we have an international readership with a keen interest in science. The image comes via Google+ from the Google Science Fair.

The graphic is pretty much self-explanatory — it shows the periodic table of elements in terms of the nationality of the person who discovered each element. There are a number of elements such as gold and mercury that have been known about for centuries, and these are listed as ‘known to the ancients’


While the UK narrowly tops the charts, I think it is Sweden which comes off as being the most impressive country represented, since its population is so small relative to the other countries at the top of the list. I’m not sure if there is anything of major significance represented by the graphic, except it might be a reflection of the importance that science has played over the years in the culture and educational systems of certain countries. It would be interesting if the years of discovery were mentioned here too.

  • philaretus

    UK will always be superior to the us.uk is the heart of world science.

  • Tim

    The US contribution was pretty impressive considering the very short amount of time they had to catch up and the extreme difficulty of finding elements as heavy as they ones they discovered.

    • Obvious

      Those are man-made elements. The Russians also have claimed priority to several of them. It depends on what is considered proof in some cases.

  • MLTC

    Sweden! 😀 Sverige!

  • Daniel Maris

    …and they somehow managed to keep out of World War 2 despite their strategic position and iron ore reserves.

    Clever people!

  • Obvious

    Cobalt makes a nice head on beer, but of course is poisonous.


  • Greenwin

    Also OT, but why is America’s MSNBC living one day in the future? Anyone? http://www.mscnbc.com/todays_news

    Screencap JPG confirms.

  • Obvious

    I think thats a tricky one since technically Poland didn’t exist as a country at the time of discovery. The work was done in France.

  • Obvious

    And the platinum credit should really be split with Spain. The British captured the ship that contained the first examples of platinum subjected to scientific scrutiny, along with the Spanish scientist responsible.

  • Obvious

    There are several disputable elements as far as discovery vs first time specifically identified. Cobalt was used since ancient times as a dye and glass colorant , but not recognized as a specific element until the early 1700s. There are lots of examples like this.

  • Obvious

    Most of the Swede-discovered elements are related to pegmatites, which are more common in surface exposures in that part of the world then elsewhere, and host a variety of rare elements and minerals composed of them in large mineral sizes, lending to increased scrutiny of their components.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    The Scandinavians had a heavy influence on English (and U.S.) culture via the Vikings and William the Conqueror. Probably > 90% of white Americans are direct descendants of William the Conqueror.

    • Bruce Williams

      Where on earth do you get this idea from ?

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        I live in Florida. How bout you?

        • GreenWin

          i.e…. It’s good to be King.

        • atanguy

          Thus, it is theoretically true that “statistically, most of the
          inhabitants of the world are probably descended from Africa ancestors;

        • Fibber McGourlick

          Who can say for sure who his forebear was? Who can say for sure who his father is?

          • Iggy Dalrymple

            Resemblance is a good clue and dna testing.

    • GreenWin


      William descends from an illustrious family. My favorites are Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark and Norway. Imagine the convenience of a dining utensil on your chin! And Edgar the Peaceful of Normandy. Unhappily Edgar’s descendant Edmund Ironside fathered Edward… the Exile. Some of Ed’s exiled descendants are rumoured to have discovered Florida long before Ponce de Leon. However, they kept the discovery secret. Which is why no one speaks Norwegian in Florida. 🙂

      • Iggy Dalrymple

        A colorful chapter in his family was King Edward I and his son, Edward II. King Edward I was the king depicted in the movie “Braveheart”. The sniveling
        son was the king to be,Edward II,a homosexual who was murdered by thrusting a redhot firepoker up his rear. His boyfriend,Piers de Gaveston,was drawn & quartered.

        This story was also told by Churchill in “History of the English Speaking Peoples”.

        • Greenwin

          Ah, but is not history illusion of recollection? Here is another version (historytoday.com) of Geveston’s demise:

          “Lancaster and Warwick decided that Gaveston must die. After some
          pretense of a trial, apparently, he was taken to Blacklow Hill, not far
          from Warwick, on land that belonged to Lancaster, and run through with a
          sword before his head was cut off. He would have been about 28 years

          Gaveston’s body was left lying there to rot, but was later
          rescued, embalmed and eventually buried in the Dominican friary at
          King’s Langley in Hertfordshire. In 1823 a monument was erected on
          Blacklow Hill by the local squire on the spot where Gaveston was thought
          to have been executed. The disapproving inscription describes him as
          ‘the Minion of a hateful King’ beheaded ‘by Barons as lawless as

          Comments from our UK brethren seem appropriate. 🙂

          • Iggy Dalrymple

            According to published pedigrees, I descend from de Gaveston and the kings sister…..however, makes you wonder if there wasn’t a ‘straight’ in the woodpile.

    • Tim

      If you go back far enough in time, i.e. 1,000 years, all Europeans living to day have common ancestors. I.e. EVERYBODY of European descent has Vikings in their family tree.

      If you go back 3,000-5,000 years, all humans have the same common ancestors, meaning we all have Egyptian, Ancient Chinese, and Sumerian ancestors.


      Once I read about this, I stopped caring about building a family tree.

  • Gerard McEk

    The Dutch had no time to look for elements, they were in constant battle with an element that not fits in this table: Water. 🙂

  • Sifferkoll®

    It might be of some remote interest that both Nickel and Lithium were discovered by researchers from Uppsala University. Ni in 1751 by Axel Cronstedt and Li in 1817 by Johan Arfwedson.

    • GreenWin

      And the skeps whine that Swedish scientists are “nobodies.” It is like condescension between alien tribes.

  • Barry8

    The more I’ve learned, the more I’ve come to admire the Swedes.

  • Private Citizen

    Sweden is impressively represented, especially for the small population.