Where Mendeleev was wrong: predicted elements that have never been found

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


This contribution gives a detailed account of the element predictions Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev made after setting up the periodic table of the elements in 1869, with a special focus on those that turned out to be unsuccessful. It is argued that most of these instances are connected to a general inability to place the rare earth metals correctly into the system. Furthermore, details of conceiving the ideas for two lighter-than-hydrogen elements, newtonium and coronium, are discussed. An attempt is made to retro-engineer the sequence of thought that led Mendeleev to extrapolate atomic masses for these elements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Element discovery
  • Ether
  • Mendeleev
  • Periodic table
  • Rare earth metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry

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