The Periodic Table is also called the Periodic Table of Elements, this is because it is a map, or a system, for organizing the elements by their properties and atomic numbers. An element is a substance that consists of only one single kind of atom, and the atomic number of an element indicates how many protons there are in the core of the element.
Chemists began to realize in the early 19th century that some elements could have similar properties. Alongside this knowledge of the various elemental atomic numbers also emerged. In the 1860s, several scientists succeeded in making sorted and ordered tables of elements. First, a British chemist, John Alexander Reina Newlands, who set up a table of 62 out of 63 then known elements. A system was also set up by the German scientist Lothar Meyer and the Russian scientist Dimitri Mendelev at about the same time. When Mendelev first published the system with periods (horizontal lines) and groups (vertical columns), it became Mendelev who received the honor, and he is usually considered to be the author of the Periodic Table as it is known today.
The designation of the chemical signs the elements consists of one or two letters, which is an abbreviation of the Latin name of the element. The elements have usually been named after their respective properties, by their discoverer or sometimes even bnased on the location where they were discovered.
How the elements are placed in the Periodic Table does not only give information about the atoms of the heavy elements of each element in relation to each other. The division in periods and groups also gives information about the characteristics of an element, eg whether it is a metal or a non-metal and also how the element reacts with other element.
The elements that are metals are located to the left and in the middle of the Periodic Table. An element found on the left in the system can therefore be expected to react as a metal, e.g. lead power well.
A few elements in the Periodic Table are non-metals. These are in fact the more important elements as regards for all life on earth, and are rather common on earth. For example Carbon (C), which is a building block in almost all living organisms, and is required for biological processes to work. Or Oxygen (O), which is needed to burn fire and to allow humans and animals to breathe. Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) are also important nutrients.
Noble gases are elements that do not react easily with other substances. These are the elements found in the group at the far right, eg. Helium (He), Neon (Ne), Argon (Ar).
The Periodic Table provides an important basis for large parts of chemistry and physics. Using the Periodic Table, it is possible to figure out how a substance reacts, how it decomposes (ie. if it is a radioactive substance), which gases will rise above other gases and, as mentioned above, what subatomic particles an element consists of. Atomic numbers and even atomic weights as stated in the system form the basis of many chemical and physical calculations and inventions that are important in many different sciences.