Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Work on The Periodic Table
In the 1860s Odling, like many chemists, was working towards a periodic table of elements. He was intrigued by atomic weights and the periodic occurrence of chemical properties. William Odling and Lothar Meyer drew up tables similar, but with improvements on, Dmitri Mendeleev's original table. Odling drew up a table of elements that bears a striking resemblance to Mendeleevís first table. The groups are horizontal, the elements are in order of increasing atomic weight and there are vacant slots for undiscovered ones. In addition, Odling overcame the tellurium iodine problem, and he even managed to get thallium, lead mercury and platinum in the right groups - something that Mendeleev failed to do at his first attempt.
Odling failed to achieve recognition, however, since it is suspected that he, as Secretary of the London Chemical Society , was instrumental in discrediting John Alexander Reina Newlands' efforts at getting his periodic table published.
Odling was born in Southwark, London, and became a Chemistry Lecturer at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School and a Demonstrator at Guy's Hospital Medical School in 1850. Leaving St Bartholomew's in 1868 he became a Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution. Later, in 1872 he left the Royal Institution and became a fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, where he stayed still his retirement in 1912.
In addition, Odling served as a fellow (1848 - 1856), Honorary Secretary (1856 - 1869), Vice-President (1869 - 1872) and President (1873 - 1875) of the Chemical Society of London as well as a Censor (1878 - 1880 and 1882 - 1891), Vice-President (1878 - 1880 and 1888 - 1891) and President (1883 - 1888) of the Institute of Chemistry .
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