In honor of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first periodic table of the elements, the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory has created an interactive version of the famous table.

The laboratory's contribution was based on research by its scientists as well as online sources.

Explore Idaho National Laboratory's interactive guide to the perodic table.

Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev and German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer independently published their periodic tables in 1869 and 1870. Mendeleev's table was his first published version. Meyer's was an expanded version of a table that the German scientist first published in 1864. Both scientists built their tables by listing the elements in rows or columns in order of atomic weight and starting a new row or column when the characteristics of the elements began to repeat.

Historians credit two decisions by Mendeleev with the worldwide recognition and acceptance his table has received. First, he left gaps in the table when it seemed that the corresponding element had not yet been discovered. He thus was the first to be recognized as using the trends in his periodic table to predict the properties of those missing elements, such as gallium and germanium. Second, occasionally he ignored the order suggested by the atomic weights and switched adjacent elements, such as tellurium and iodine, to better classify them into chemical families.

A less scientific, but perhaps more enjoyable, version of the periodic table may be found in Tom Lehrer's sung homage to the elements, circa 1967.