Mathematical aspects of the periodic law

Foundations of Chemistry 9 (2):189-214 (2006)
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Abstract

We review different studies of the Periodic Law and the set of chemical elements from a mathematical point of view. This discussion covers the first attempts made in the 19th century up to the present day. Mathematics employed to study the periodic system includes number theory, information theory, order theory, set theory and topology. Each theory used shows that it is possible to provide the Periodic Law with a mathematical structure. We also show that it is possible to study the chemical elements taking advantage of their phenomenological properties, and that it is not always necessary to reduce the concept of chemical elements to the quantum atomic concept to be able to find interpretations for the Periodic Law. Finally, a connection is noted between the lengths of the periods of the Periodic Law and the philosophical Pythagorean doctrine.

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