Periodic table of elements

The periodic table of elements is an arrangement of all of the known chemical elements. They are arranged in a specific configuration in order to reflect the similarities between their properties.[1] The rows are known as "periods," and the columns are called "groups." The elements are arranged in order of their atomic number, meaning that the top left of the table begins with 1 proton and increases from left to right. They are also arranged by electron configuration, with the far right group (noble group) consisting of elements with full electron shells. The elements in the periodic table can be classified generally as metals or nonmetals, and are classified further based on their similar chemical properties (seen by the different colours in the periodic table below).[2]

Every element is unique, and many play significant roles in the context of energy. Carbon is the element discussed the most offten, since it has extreme importance in the formation of life, yet is also of concern in the form of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Carbon and hydrogen form hydrocarbons, which take the form of coal and oil, vital to human energy needs. Uranium is the world's primary nuclear fuel.

Choose a clickable element in the table below to learn more about it and its role in energy and society.

For Further Reading


  1. Royal Society of Chemistry. (Accessed September 12, 2015). Development of the periodic table [Online], Available:
  2. Chemistry, Rice University, 2015. [Online]. Available: