Why is the periodic table organized by atomic number rather than alphabetically?

1 Answer
Jan 1, 2016

Undoubtedly, part of the reason is that different languages have different names for different elements.


The word for nitrogen in French is azote ; Greek is "azoto"; Italian is "nitrogene" (I might be wrong on the last). I don't know what it is called in Mandarin. If, however, I use the symbol, #N#, chemists worldwide know that I speak of the element for which #Z=7#.

At least today, the chemical symbols of the Periodic Table transcend provincial languages (and of course English is included in that designation!).