Dmitri Mendeleev Biography

(Inventor of Periodic Table)

Birthday: February 8, 1834 (Aquarius)

Born In: Tobolsk

Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist who greatly impacted the scientific community with his discovery of the periodic law and by successfully organizing the elements into the periodic table. His early life was marked by struggle and tragedy. By the time he was 21, he had lost his father and was suffering from tuberculosis. He buried himself in his scientific studies and went on to become a science professor. As a teacher, he realized that there was no comprehensive and complete textbook for his students. To correct this, he set out to publish a textbook that would provide a better learning experience for Russian students. He utilized his strong academic background, international scientific research and innovative theories to publish over 400 articles and books over his lifetime. Mendeleev, though best known for the periodic table, was also strongly interested in developing and improving Russia’s agricultural and industrial resources. He served as an advisor to the government, and he wrote several projects to develop the coal industry. He traveled throughout the Russian empire and even went to the United States to learn about petroleum. Near the end of his lifetime, he retired from teaching and turned his focus to metrology. In only a few short years, he published his own journal of metrology. His dedication to various disciplines is overshadowed by his enormous scientific discovery of the periodic table of elements
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev, Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev

Died At Age: 72


Spouse/Ex-: Anna Ivanova Popova, Feozva Nikitichna Leshcheva

father: Ivan Pavlovich Mendeleev

mother: Maria Dmitrievna Mendeleeva

siblings: Masha Mendeleeva

children: Ivan Mendeleev, Lyubov Dmitrievna Mendeleeva, Maria Mendeleeva, Olga Mendeleeva, Vasily Mendeleev, Vladimir Mendeleev

Chemists Organic Chemists

Died on: February 2, 1907

place of death: Saint Petersburg

discoveries/inventions: Periodic Table, Pycnometer, Pyrocollodion

More Facts

education: Saint Petersburg State University, Heidelberg University

awards: 1862 - Demidov Prize
1905 - Copley Medal

  • 1

    What is Dmitri Mendeleev known for?

    Dmitri Mendeleev is known for creating the periodic table of elements, which organizes the elements based on their atomic number and chemical properties.
  • 2

    How did Dmitri Mendeleev organize the periodic table?

    Dmitri Mendeleev organized the periodic table by arranging the elements in order of increasing atomic mass and grouping elements with similar properties together.
  • 3

    What is the significance of Mendeleev's periodic table?

    Mendeleev's periodic table provided a systematic way to organize the known elements at the time and also left gaps for undiscovered elements, which later turned out to be accurate predictions.
  • 4

    How did Mendeleev's periodic table differ from previous attempts at organizing elements?

    Mendeleev's periodic table differed from previous attempts by arranging elements based on their atomic mass and leaving gaps for undiscovered elements with predicted properties, allowing for future discoveries to fit into the table.
Childhood & Early Life
Dmitri Mendeleev was born on February 8, 1834, in Verkhnie, Aremzyani, a small Russian province. The exact number is unknown, but it is believed that he had at least 16 brothers and sisters.
His childhood was marked by tragedy when his father, Ivan Mendeleyev, began having health problems. He passed away in 1847 leaving Dmitri’s mother to work at a glass factory to support the family.
Tragedy struck again in 1848 when the glass factory his mother managed burned down. The family was forced to move to St. Petersburg.
In 1855 Mendeleev was diagnosed with tuberculosis, but he continued to pursue his education to become a teacher. He graduated from the Main Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg.
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In 1855, Mendeleev became a science teacher in Crimea. He soon decided to move back to St. Petersburg and continue his education. A year later he completed his Masters degree in Chemistry.
He became a professor at the University of St. Petersburg. He realized the great need for an organized and quality chemistry textbook, so he began to research and work on one of his own.
In 1861, he released ‘Organic Chemistry’, a 500 page textbook. The book went on to win the Domidov Prize and push Mendeleev to fame in the scientific community.
In 1867, he was honored with the Chair of General Chemistry at the University of Saint Petersburg. He used his position to push Russia to improve and focus on their understanding of chemistry.
In 1869, Mendeleev came out another major book, ‘The Principles of Chemistry’. The book became so popular that it was translated to French, German, and English.
In 1869, he published his major work ‘The Relation between the Properties and Atomic Weights of Elements’. He organized the 65 known elements into the periodic table.
By 1889 Mendeleev had perfected his periodic table of elements. He presented his representation in London, and it is this model that is still used today.
In 1890, he retired from his university position. The same year, he took a position as a government consultant. He was strongly interested in developing Russia’s industrial and agricultural resources.
He was particularly interested in petroleum. His research helped to found Russia’s first oil refinery.
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In 1893, he became director of the Central Board of Weights and Measures in Russia. He published several articles in the ‘Brockhaus Encyclopedia’ and reviewed numerous reprints of his “Principles of Chemistry”.
Major Works
Mendeleev released the periodic table in 1869. His revolutionary organization of the elements correctly assumed that some of the elements had their atomic weights measured incorrectly and that eight new elements existed. As new elements were found and his theories were further proven correct, his scientific reputation was enhanced even more.
Awards & Achievements
He was awarded with the Copley Medal in 1905. This British Royal Society gave him this highest honor for his famous scientific discovery, the periodic table.
Personal Life & Legacy
Mendeleev married Feozna Nikitchna Lascheva on 27 April 1862. The marriage lasted for nearly 20 years before the couple divorced in 1882. He had two children from this marriage: son Vladimir and daughter Olga.
In 1882 Mendeleev married Anna Ivanova Popova and this union resulted in four children.
He passed away on February 2, 1907. His funeral was in St. Petersburg and many people brought along copies of the Periodic Table as tribute to his contributions to science.
Element number 101 was discovered in 1955. It was named Mendelevium to honor his contributions to science.
Facts About Dmitri Mendeleev
Dmitri Mendeleev had a fascination with card games and often used playing cards to help him organize and conceptualize the elements in the periodic table.
Mendeleev was known to have a great sense of humor and enjoyed making witty jokes and puns, even in his scientific work.
He was a skilled musician and played the guitar and piano, finding inspiration and creativity in music that he also applied to his scientific endeavors.
Mendeleev was a prolific writer and author, not only in the field of chemistry but also in various other subjects, including economics, politics, and philosophy.
Despite his busy schedule and scientific pursuits, Mendeleev was also a dedicated family man who valued spending time with his loved ones and nurturing his relationships outside of work.
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