theschemata.com

THE PERIODIC SCHEMATA
OF THE ELEMENTS


LATIN SYMBOLIC NOTATION

By Charles William Johnson

The schema below, from The Periodic Schemata of the Elements, shows the elements with their atomic numbers in the symbolic abbreviation of Latin for each element.

Many reference books in physics and chemistry list the elements in alphabetical order by their accidental historical names. Offering data based upon alphabetical lists of the names of the elements always causes the reader the need of translating the alphabetical names back into the numerical order of atomic number.

The Latin symbolic abbreviations have been suggested for some of the superheavy elements, until it has been agreed upon internationally which names should be assigned to those elements with the names of those persons, institutions or countries that discovered those particular elements. Given the progressive aufbau system of the periodic table, and now more effectively respected in The Schemata of the Elements, we would suggest that the elements should be referred to simply by their atomic number.


By employing the Latin symbolic abbreviations for all of the elements, not just some of the more recently discovered superheavy ones, as shown in this schema, actually duplicates the atomic number of each element. However, such a symbolic notation based on Latin may serve as a teaching and research aid. Historical tradition is something that is quite difficult to overcome. Yet, within the reading of the periodic table, the Bohr notation has been effectively abandoned in favor of the spectrographic notation of the electronic configuration of the elements.

By employing the Latin symbolic abbreviations for all of the elements in the schema, the symbolic "alphabetical" lists of the elements would be in accordance with the numerical lists of the atomic number. The Latin symbolic listing would thus coincide with the numerical list of atomic number: the N, U, B, T, Q, P, H, S, O, E listing would correspond to O, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Therefore, any atomic element on the alphabetical list, such as Uranium, which would be EB in the Latin symbolic notation, would occupy the same position on the numerical list of 92. Note the representational elements:

U
B
T
Q
P
H
S
O
E
UN
UU
UB
UT
UQ
UP
UH
US
UO
UE
BN
BU
...
UBN
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
...
120


In the alphanumeric listings above the "alphabetical" side would actually reflect the numerical aufbau progression of the atomic number of the elements. The Latin alpha-symbolic side would never be listed in alphabetical order in any language (such as English), but listed as shown as reflecting numerical progression (the aufbau). Oxygen (O) would continue to be "O", but the letter "O" would now represent the number eight of its atomic number. Carbon (C) would now be represented by the Latin symbolic letter "H", which would mean the number six of its atomic number. And so on. Because of the significant role of Carbon in Hydrocarbons, having the element of Carbon represented now by the letter/number "H" is not that extraneous.

By employing the Latin symbolic notation for all of the elements, one is gaining order in the presentation of data concerning the elements. The chaotic alphabetic listing of the historical names is thereby avoided; emphasis now falls on the numerical listing. When one observes the alphabetic Latin symbolic representation, one immediately knows the atomic number.

There are numerous other positive points for adopting the Latin symbolic notation for all of the elements, but such an adoption may never be forthcoming due to the historical significance of the current names of the elements. Obviously, one might consider the complete elimination of all alphabetic symbolic notations, and simply employ the numbers of the language of each particular scholar. But, such a proposal is far too radical in a sense, because no one will want to stop talking about "carbon" and simply say "H" or "six". Therefore, the Latin symbolic notation is proposed here more along the lines for research than for everyday speech.

Latin Symbolic Notation

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