Discussion:
How Sanskrit Led To The Creation Of Mendeleev's Periodic Table
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Dr. Jai Maharaj
2018-09-26 19:21:41 UTC
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In article
https://indictales.com/2017/10/12/how-sanskrit-led-to-the-creation-of-mendeleevs-periodic-table/
How Sanskrit Led To The Creation Of Mendeleev's Periodic Table
tatvamasee
October 12, 2017
How the two-dimensional structure of Sanskrit could have
led to the creation of the periodic table.
It is an amusing fact that the original names used by
Mendeleev for gallium and germanium are eka-aluminum and
eka-silicon, where the eka, Sanskrit for one, has the sense
of beyond. The prediction for the existence of these
elements was made by Mendeleev in a paper in 1869, and it
was the identification of these elements in 1875 and 1886
that made him famous, and led to the general acceptance of
the periodic table. In all, Mendeleev gave Sanskrit names
to eight elements in his periodic table. Here we speak of
how the two-dimensional structure of Sanskrit led him to
his momentous discovery.
Mendeleev was born at Tobolsk, Siberia, and educated in St.
Petersburg. He was appointed to a professorship in St.
Petersburg 1863 and in 1866 he succeeded to the Chair of
Chemistry in the University. He is best known for his work
on the periodic table, which was soon recognized since he
predicted the existence and properties of new elements and
indicated that some accepted atomic weights of the then
known elements were in error. His periodic table formulated
in 1869 remains one of the major conceptual advancements in
the history of science.
Mendeleev arranged in the table the 63 known elements based
on atomic weight, which he published in his article "On the
Relationship of the Properties of the Elements to their
Atomic Weights". He left space for new elements, and
predicted three yet-to-be-discovered elements including
eka-silicon and eka-boron.
The earlier attempts at classification had considered some
two-dimensional schemes, but they remained arbitrary in
their conception. Mendeleev's main contribution was his
insistence that the two-dimensional should be systematic
and comprehensive. In this he appears to have been inspired
by the systematic arrangement of Sanskrit sounds in the
standard ak?ara-mala, which he indirectly acknowledges in
his naming scheme.
Julius Lothar Meyer (1830–1895) published his classic paper
of 1870 that also presented the periodicity of atomic
volume plotted against atomic weight. Meyer and Mendeleev
carried on a long drawn-out dispute over priority. But it
was Mendeleev's predictions of yet-unknown elements that
secured his fame. The most famous of these predictions was
for eka-silicon (germanium) for which not only did he
postulate its existence, but also its properties in its
chloride and oxide combinations.
The Sanskrit Tradition and Mendeleev's Discovery
Note that the Sanskrit alphabet is represented
traditionally in a two-dimensional
The first group of sixteen is that of the vowels, which are
simple vowels or diphthongs. The remaining letters are
consonants which are divided into five classes: those
pronounced from the throat are gutturals; those from the
palate are palatals; those pronounced from the roof of the
mouth are cerebrals; those pronounced from the teeth are
dentals; those pronounced from the lips are labials. Each
of these classes contains seven consonants: five mutes, one
semi-vowel, and one sibilant.
Panini, the author of a famed grammar of Sanskrit who lived
in the fifth century BC, in his Siva Sutras (also called
Mahesvara Sutras) came up with another classification in 14
categories based on phonological properties of sounds. See
According to Professor Paul Kiparsky of Stanford
University, Mendeleev was a friend and colleague of the
Sanskritist Böhtlingk, who was preparing the second edition
of his book on Panini at about this time, and Mendeleev
wished to honor Panini with his nomenclature. Noting that
there are striking similarities between the Periodic Table
and the introductory Siva Sutras in Panini's grammar,
[T]he analogies between the two systems are striking. Just
as Panini found that the phonological patterning of sounds
in the language is a function of their articulatory
properties, so Mendeleev found that the chemical properties
of elements are a function of their atomic weights.
Like Panini, Mendeleev arrived at his discovery through a
search for the "grammar" of the elements (using what he
called the principle of isomorphism, and looking for
general formulas to generate the possible chemical
compounds).
Just as Panini arranged the sounds in order of increasing
phonetic complexity (e.g. with the simple stops k,p...
preceding the other stops, and representing all of them in
expressions like kU, pU) so Mendeleev arranged the elements
in order of increasing atomic weights, and called the first
row (oxygen, nitrogen, carbon etc.) "typical (or
representative) elements".
Just as Panini broke the phonetic parallelism of sounds
when the simplicity of the system required it, e.g. putting
the velar to the right of the labial in the nasal row, so
Mendeleev gave priority to isomorphism over atomic weights
when they conflicted, e.g. putting beryllium in the
magnesium family because it patterns with it even though by
atomic weight it seemed to belong with nitrogen and
phosphorus. In both cases, the periodicities they
discovered would later be explained by a theory of the
internal structure of the elements.
Kiparsky has examined the question of the optimality of the
Siva Sutras elsewhere. He suggests that this optimality
might have provided him with the confidence in a similarly
optimal two-dimensional table of elements. My own view is
that it is unlikely that Panini's Siva Sutras influenced
him, because there is no evidence that he knew Sanskrit
well enough to appreciate the subtle points related to the
organization of the Siva Sutras.
It is more plausible that he noted the comprehensiveness of
the two-dimensional arrangement of the Sanskrit alphabet
(var?amala) which is apparent to even the beginning student
of the language. The tabular form of the Sanskrit letters
is due to the two parameters (point of articulation and
aspiration) at the basis of the sounds, and Mendeleev must
have recognized that ratios/valency and atomic weight
likewise defined a two-dimensional basis for the elements.
Convinced that the analogy was fundamental, Mendeleev
theorized that the gaps that lay in his table must
correspond to undiscovered elements. For his predicted
eight elements, he used the prefixes of eka, dvi, and tri
(Sanskrit one, two, three) in their naming.
It should be recognized that some of the most brilliant
European minds studied Sanskrit in the nineteenth century,
and philology and natural science papers were published in
the same proceedings of the St. Petersburg Academy of
Sciences, as at other academies. The two-dimensional
regular representation of Sanskrit sounds must have been
well-known to Mendeleev.
Mendeleev, by using Sanskrit names, was tipping his hat to
the Sanskrit grammarians of yore, who had created
astonishingly sophisticated theories of language based on
their discovery of the two-dimensional patterns in basic
sounds. The connections between computer science and
Sanskrit grammatical conception have been investigated by
several scholars. But the connection between these
grammatical ideas and modern theories of matter is a most
fascinating chapter of history of science that has remained
forgotten for over a hundred and thirty years.
Dhanyavaad for posting the article.

Jai Maharaj, Jyotishi
Om Shanti
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.jai-maharaj
Daud Deden
2018-09-29 03:21:19 UTC
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Thank you much for stating this passage, very enlightening to me: " It is an amusing fact that the original names used by
Mendeleev for gallium and germanium are eka-aluminum and
eka-silicon, where the eka, Sanskrit for one, has the sense
of beyond "
I didn't know that eka refers to 'beyond'. It thus fits extra, ecto-, exo-, etc.
Daud Deden
2018-09-29 17:19:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daud Deden
Thank you much for stating this passage, very enlightening to me: " It is an amusing fact that the original names used by
Mendeleev for gallium and germanium are eka-aluminum and
eka-silicon, where the eka, Sanskrit for one, has the sense
of beyond "
I didn't know that eka refers to 'beyond'. It thus fits extra, ecto-, exo-, etc.
(Mbua)Xyuar/sur/xtr(shutl)

{permutation: xyua.mbua -> mbua.xyua = mixture vs measure}

Sur(vive/round), trans(fer.ry/port),
meta(phore: carry beyond),
~***@Sp: dead/[***@Mly=muerte/murder/***@Frch, ***@Mly: eye, ***@Mly: spy]

Beyond /?\ bo(u)nd(Ari)/bounds/***@Azt: both vs otli:other/altern/***@Spn

Measure mbuatlachya matricula
Abundance beyond bord.er/buatl
Fer.t.l./pretty/bearer

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