Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was born on the eighth of February, 1834 in a small town called Verkhnie Aremzyani in Tobolsk, Siberia to Ivan Pavlovich Mendeleev and Maria Dmitrievna Mendeleeva. His grandfather was a priest of the Russian Orthodox church. Dmitri was raised as a Christian but later in his life departed from church life and became a bit of a deist. He is believed to be the youngest of somewhere between 11-17 siblings in his family.
His father was very intelligent and taught philosophy, fine arts and politics at a local school. Unfortunately though, he soon went blind and as a result lost his teaching position. His mother was forced to go back into the workforce and ...view middle of the document...
In his second year as a student he came down with tuberculosis and didn't recover fully until 1857. He continued to do his work while bedridden with his classmates and teachers bringing his reading materials and assignments. With their help, he passed as first in his class.
It wasn't until 1861 when Dmitri wrote his first book on the spectroscope when he truly broke into the scientific realm after his recovery. On April 4th, 1862 he became engaged to Feozva Nikitichna Leshcheva and they were married thirteen days later at the engineering institute where he taught at the time. After he was married, he began work teaching at Saint Petersburg Technological Institute in 1864.
A year later, he became Doctor of Science for his essay “On the Combinations of Water with Alcohol.” Thanks entirely to Dmitri Mendeleev himself, Saint Petersburg became an internationally recognized location for chemistry research. In 1876, just four years after his wedding with his first wife Feozva, he became obsessed with a secretary at the college where he worked. Anna Ivanova Popova was her name, and he quickly began courting her. It took much time, but he eventually divorced Feozva and threatened Anna if she didn't marry him that he would kill himself. He had already been married to Anna for a month before the divorce was finalized.
This, in turn, caused a lot of drama for Dmitri. He was still a bigamist, and the Russian Orthodox church required seven years before a lawful re-marriage. This divorce and re-marriage he had contributed to the rejection of the Russian Academy of Sciences as a teacher despite his international fame. At that point in his life, Dmitri had six children, two of whom were already grown up from his first marriage, and he needed a job to support them and Anna after he resigned from his work at St. Petersburg in 1890.
It took him three years to find an adequate job as the Director of Bureau Weights and Measures. He was assigned to the job of formulating new state standards for the production of vodka.
The Periodic Table
In 1863 there was only 56 known elements. Today we know of 118. Scientists discovered a new one at around once a year. Still though, the elements were not a large focus at the time for study. Lothar Mayer proposed the idea of a table with all the elements for easier organization, he even wrote a paper on it in 1864 with 28 elements organized by their power. But there were no predictions for any other elements being discovered in the future, and with such, the idea was ignored.
While Mendeleev was studying the elements and struggling to figure out how to arrange them, he wrote two textbooks for university students studying chemistry at the time. Principles of Chemistry was a two volume series that he published in 1868 & 1870. The beginnings of the table he was creating only had nine elements and their abbreviations, not even the full titles of them. As he continued to add more elements to his project, it became harder to...