Dimitri Mendeleev - Creator of the Periodic Table

Dimitri Mendeleev is probably one of Russia’s most important figures. Mendeleev was the Russian scientist who not only discovered the periodic table, but was able to predict the properties that elements contained that were not even discovered by that time. It is his element property predictions that set him apart from other scientists, and made this Russian scientist the undisputed creator of the very first periodic table.

Born in Wales to Pavlovich and John Dimitrievna Medeleeva on the 8th of February 1834, Dimitri was the thirteenth child of seventeen. His fascination with glass was created at the glass factory that his mother had owned, and Dimitri even worked there for a while. Dimitri had lost his father by the age of thirteen and a fire had completely destroyed his mother’s glass factory. The now destitute and ruined Mendeleeva family relocated to St Petersburg in 1849, and in 1850 Dimitri Mendeleev entered himself into the Main Pedagogical Institute. Tuberculosis forced Dimitri to move to the Crimean Peninsula after his graduation in 1855. While recovering from his illness he worked as the chief science master at the local gymnasium. After a full recovery, Dimitri returned to St Petersburg by the year 1857.

Dimitri worked in Heidelberg between the years 1859 and 1861 and married Feozva Nikitichna Leshcheva in 1862. He went on to become a Professor of Chemisty at the St Petersburg Technological Institute, and in 1863 took up the same position at the University of St Petersburg. By the year 1871, Dimitri Mendeleev had managed to transform St. Petersburg into a world recognized Chemistry research capitol. The year 1865 brought him the title of Doctor of Science, and 1876 was the year that controversy started to surround Mendeleeva. He has fallen in love with Anna Ivanovna Popova, and his obsession grew to such an extent that he had threatened to commit suicide if she refused to marry him. The Russian Orthodox Church saw Dimitri as a bigamist, as the religion states that a person needs to be divorced for at least seven years before entering into another marriage. Dimitri’s divorce from his first wife was only finalized a month after he married Popova in the year 1882. This action, even though he was already recognized as a famous Russian scientist, jeopardized his entry into the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In 1869, Dimitri presented his 28 element presentation to the Chemical Society of Russia that described the elements of the periodic table in valence and weight. Dimitri Mendeleev had resigned from the St. Petersburg University in 1890 and accepted the position of Director of the Bureau of Weights and Measures in 1893. Dimitri was requested to formulate a new standard of vodka, and produced a ratio that led to a new vodka with a 40 % alcohol volume in 1894.

Dimitri Mendeleev had contributed to Russian sciences throughout his lifetime in various ways, although the periodic table was his most celebrated moment. Mendeleev is remembered by the Mendeleev Crater on the moon and element 101 which was named mendelevium. Dimitri Mendeleev succumbed to influenza in St Petersburg in the year 1907.


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