The periodic law has shown that our chemical individuals display a harmonic periodicity of properties, dependent on their masses. Now, natural science has long been accustomed to deal with periodicities observed in nature, to seize them with the vice of mathematical analysis, to submit them to the rasp of experiment. And these instruments of scientific thought would surely, long since, have mastered the problem connected with the chemical elements, were it not for a new feature which was brought to light by the periodic law and which gave a peculiar and original character to the periodic function . . . Not only are there no intermediate elements between silver, which gives AgCl, and cadmium, which gives CdCl2, but, according to the very essence of the periodic law there can be none; in fact a uniform curve would be inapplicable in such a case, as it would lead us to expect elements possessed of special properties at any point of the curve. The periods of the elements have thus a character very different from those which are so simply represented by geometers. They correspond to points, to numbers, to sudden changes of the masses, and not to a continuous evolution. In these sudden changes destitute of intermediate steps or positions, in the absence of elements intermediate between, say, silver and cadmium, or aluminium and silicon, we must recognize a problem to which no direct application of the analysis of the infinitely small can be made . . . Having thus indicated a new mystery of Nature, which does not yet yield to rational conception, the periodic law, together with the revelations of spectrum analysis, have contributed to again revive an old but remarkably long-lived hope–that of discovering, if not by experiment, at least, by a mental effort, the primary matter–which had its genesis in the minds of the Grecian philosophers, and has been transmitted, together with many other ideas of the classic period, to the heirs of their civilization.
Journal of the Chemical Society (London) 55, 634-656 (1889)
(FARADAY LECTURE delivered before the Fellows of the Chemical Society in the Theatre of the Royal Institution, on Tuesday, June 4th, 1889.)
6 hours of work on the bubbles,
2 hours of German class,
$3 Burrito was worth the detour,
30 minutes of German vocab so far.
30 minutes of Grammar.
Some more German then sleep 😐