Here’s an ongoing project where I intend to catalog abuse of The Periodic Table. Please add to The Periodic Table Abuse Project by alerting me of abuse!

The Periodic Table is a beautiful, ordered, organized thing, and whilst debate continues to rage about certain aspects of it, the table’s core appeal remains timeless.

So, why do people abuse the table so often?

On one hand we have the “The Periodic Table of…, abuse. These ‘tables’ are those that collect related pieces of data and then ‘organize’ them in the shape of the periodic table. The biggest issue here is that the data are not arranged in a manner that is in the spirit of, or consistent with, the original. For example, when there is no apparent relationship between the pieces of information that appear in each column and each row, the periodic table is ‘abused’. One such example is The Periodic Table of Texting that appears to be nothing more than an alphabetical arrangement of texting terms. A perhaps less egregious example is The Periodic Table of Beer, that at least groups related beer styles in columns.

Generally, I am not collecting ‘The Periodic Table of…‘ examples here, partly because this has been done before, but mainly because I am looking for more specific abuse other than just using the table as a template for organization. Having said that, I certainly will consider such tables in terms of symbol abuse, but I won’t consider them if they do not abuse symbols such as The Periodic Table of Elephants. It’s a fine line, and I expect I will be inconsistent on occasion – bear with me!

In time, and as I collect more examples, I think that the abuse will need organized into sub-categories and probably displayed differently that I have below. I’m thinking of a few titles for sub-categories of abuse already such as; symbol abuse, atomic number abuse, mass number abuse, organizational abuse, typos etc. Anyway, for now, here’s what we have so far.

Sub Zero Periodic Table The Subzero ice-cream parlor in Indianapolis invent an element, and get the atomic numbers all wrong. Calcium in my ice-cream I can handle (and expect), but a large dose of cobalt, too? No thanks. Thanks to Joseph Wargo for the spot.

BWW Hg Periodic Table Mercury on your chicken wings? Buffalo Wild Wings thinks it’s a great idea! Honestly? I’m less sure. @compoundchem points this one out.

BWW Too Late Periodic Table Not content with only using mercury to poison us, Buffalo Wild Wings suggests more elemental additions! Another from @compoundchem.

Mouse Mat Periodic Table Lowercase? Uppercase? Who cares? Does helium think it is more important than the rest of the elements? Thanks to @TeacherChemist for this one who also reports it corrected.

Abundance Periodic Table @WPIBurdette systematically takes down a viral Periodic Table. Looks like LSD had an influence on more than just the appearance of this table. Click here for the full detail of the take-down.

Mug Periodic Table @_razza points out that her Periodic Table mug needs a little TLC (typo loving care). Better than having thallium on the inside though!

Jelly Periodic Table We Love Jelly look like they’ve been hitting the cocktails a little hard. This CANNOT end well. More new elements? I don’t think so, although ‘Pornstar Martini‘ is an interesting angle on Promethium! Thanks to @sbrattonuk for the share.

Cocktails Periodic Table The part 1 of the coffee cocktail lab is gonna give you a headache either way! If it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep cerium out of my coffee thank-you very much, and you’d better drink that meitnerium infused drink quickly, since the half-life is pretty short. Cheers to @KazMitch for the two part warning.

Coffee part 2 Periodic Table Here’s part 2 of the unfeasible coffee concoctions from @KazMitch. One problem here is that Cc means two different things …errr…. well, that and a bunch of other stuff. At least there’s plenty of Ca in that milky Cappuccino, but I’ll pass on the chlorinated coffee, the radioactive americium or curium spiked beverages, and einsteinium with my caffeine seems a little risky to me.

Ri Periodic Table You’d have to be pretty ballsy to call out the Royal Institution …… especially when you consider the abuse listed below! But at least I am in good company!

ADCP Periodic Table Whoops! A little close to home for my liking! My defense? They were suggested by the web designer folks and I liked them. The irony, it doth drip. Mea culpa.

Dr. Quinn Periodic Table There’s got to be a TON of these Breaking Bad spoofs out there. This one is for the TV show/movie/TV movie, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, made famous by actress Jane Seymour. Strangely though, I feel that there really ought to be elements with the symbols Dr and Qu, even if they aren’t allowed to adopt the atomic and mass numbers of Br and Ba.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 12.36.34 PM The Miracle of Science Bar & Grill in MA really ought to know better! Thanks for NomNomDePlume on Reddit for this addition. There’s just a whole bunch of stuff I don’t want on skewers, sandwiches or anything else. BTW – what’s up with diatomic vanadium, boron and carbon?? Photo Credit.

MSI Chicago Periodic Table The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago makes a terbium whoops! (as of 04/16/15). Thanks to @JennyE_OHare for the contribution.

Target Magnets Periodic Table These magnets from Target simply, errr…. miss the target! Thanks to Sheri Furby for the heads up on these.

Textbook Periodic Table Honestly, I know that these things happen, but this is horrible for the front cover of a chemistry textbook. Thanks to Casey Gillett for the spot.

JCC Periodic Table Matthew Kennedy alerts me to some serious abuse in terms of symbols, shape and the insertion of icons by the JCC in Columbus, Ohio. Yikes!

Molecule- R #4 Periodic Table The folks at MOLECULE-R do all kinds of bad things in the name of Molecular Gastronomy – whatever THAT is! (No, I had never heard of it, either). You too can experience Gelification, Spherification, Emulsification and ‘Other Transformations‘!

Molecule-R Periodic Table #2 The MOLECULE-R folk extend the symbols to include ‘T’ for Tools – enough said!

Breaking Bad #2 Periodic Table More Walter White nonsense, this time from HQ Wallpapers. ‘Wo’ is an element? Who will tell IUPAC and/or californium?

Spice Rack Periodic Table This is perilously close to being a ‘Periodic Table of…” that I am NOT documenting here, but the symbol abuse just compels me to include it.

Veritasium Periodic Table Thanks to Brandon Boyd for calling out Veritasium – they purport to know better! ‘An element of truth’? Nope, all lies!

Kaplan Test Periodic Table It was only a matter of time before this old chestnut turned up, and we didn’t have to wait too long thanks to Kaplan’s MCAT prep Twitter feed. Oh how I have hated this for many years.

Cheese Periodic Table @altotus (and his dad) keep me abreast of goings on in Florida at Toasted restaurant in Winter Park. Another one that’s close to ‘The Periodic Table of…‘ (that I am trying to avoid documenting here), this ones goes in for symbol abuse. Hope that their sandwiches are better than their respect for the periodic table!

American Chemistry Council Periodic Table Horror of horrors, now the American Chemistry Council gets in on the act. When will the madness end?

Dow Periodic Table You may remember this from a relatively recent Dow TV ad campaign. Thanks to @chris_sy for the reminder.

Fried Rice Periodic Table Yes you can buy this Chinese food mug at Please have some respect, and don’t. Although I suppose eating fried rice is better than consuming Francium!

Chow Mein Periodic Table Again, if I am honest, if the choice is a bowl full of curium or a bowl full of chow mein, I’m running with the MSG option.

Tattoo Periodic Table You may be aware of the book Science Ink written by Carl Zimmer (another book that I wish I had thought of writing), that catalogs science based tattoos. I’m not sure if this one is in that book, but the symbol abuse makes me cringe almost as much as the needle would! BTW – that bottom molecule looks like it was supposed to be dopamine, but I think they left out a double bond.

21C BS Periodic Table Is it the 21st Century edubabble BS that annoys me more, or is it the symbol abuse? A tie – it’s dumb squared. Thanks to @dprindle for the alert.

Digital Literacy Periodic Table Oh look, non-science hijacks REAL science – a common them in the bizarre world of education. Thanks to @TheOtherDrX for vigilance in the education BS world.

Bill Nye Periodic Table Like ME, Bill Nye abuses the table – but somehow, I feel that people like him and I should get a pass! Thanks to the @TheOtherDrX once more.

Breaking Bad Ch Periodic Table More nonsense from Breaking Bad – I bet there’s a LOT more to come from that particular source! Thanks to Scott Engler for this one.

Beeriodic Periodic Table Yes it IS a ‘Periodic Table Of…‘ (that I am trying to avoid documenting), but again, it really has to go in for symbol abuse. Thank you, Penney.

Lunch Periodic Table Is this abuse? Not sure, but for now Chrissy Bramer’s ‘LuNCH’ box goes into the abuse project. Maybe one to review?

Tour de France Periodic Table Symbol abuse of an extreme magnitude qualifies ‘The Periodic Table of Tour de France winners‘. On a Sixpence starts the abuse and hardly knows when to stop and I’ll simply document three of them here. To be fair, some of the prints really are rather attractive.

Italian Tour Periodic Table More cycling abuse, this time from the Italian version of ‘Le Tour’ for the second, On a Sixpence entry.

Spanish Tour Periodic Table And finally the third version of bicycling madness that summarizes the Spanish race.

SEMCTO Periodic Table Southeast Michigan Chemistry Teachers Organization make up an element! Mmmmmm…..

Earth Periodic Table More strange mugs. Not sure where this leaves hydrogen and helium, or even Ekaaluminium!

Air Fire Periodic Table Although Empedocles might approve, I’m not sure where he’s getting his atomic weights.

Water Leeloo Periodic Table I thought that the elemental symbol for water was ▽, but it looks like IUPAC have updated things! If you’re not familiar with the movie The Fifth Element and the character Leeloo (like me), then the pun is lost on you. I am now educated in such matters. Thanks, Dan!

Drexel SC Periodic Table Less about abuse, and more about taking some liberties. Scandium = Drexel University’s ‘Science Center’ at 34th and Market in Philadelphia.

Nintendium Periodic Table According to the Urban Dictionary, nintendium is “The hardest, most durable material known to mankind, discovered by nintendo for usage in their console, the Nintendo Entertainment System”. Other sources tell us it is the 133rd element and has the symbol Nn! Feel free to wholly ignore both. Thanks to @CCanfield100 for the spot.

Duke Periodic Table Another one to file under the heading of, ‘they should know better’, Trinity College of Arts & Science at Duke do the dirty on Na and Se, and create two, new ‘elements’. Thanks to @cjt217 for the spot.

ATOMAS Periodic Table ATOMAS by Max Gittel undoes some otherwise interesting work with a nasty symbol for Br. (I still don’t ‘get’ the game BTW).

Donut Periodic Table It’s national ‘Donut’ day today (June 5th) so I suggest celebrating by never doing this. Thanks @overheardinchem.

Stink Periodic Table Well, this stinks! Thanks to @bhgross144 for this huge pile of nothing but abuse!

Hexagon Periodic Table Got to be honest, I hate this. Everything is benzene and the groups are destroyed. Abuse of the highest order!

Wine #1 Periodic Table So, sulfites and other ‘chemicals’ were worrying you in your wine? How about a few pieces of cesium? Charles Smith Wines offer a group 1 metal as an addition to your approachable, Cab Sav!

Wine #2 Periodic Table Not content with Cs, Charles Smith goes on to offer your rhenium and a couple of new elements.

Camb Healthtech Periodic Table I’m going to categorize this as ‘positional abuse’ @CHI_Healthtech. I guess that’s ‘Life Scientists’ for ya!

MaddChemistry Periodic Table No @MaddChemistry, you may not abuse symbols and names in this manner, not even in the name of #GaGa.

Valentine Periodic Table @scburdet points out this aggravating Valentine’s Day greeting card. Aggravating? Yes, because it was all going well until ‘M’ (well that and whatever the 2, 3, 5 and 2 are doing there).

Body Building Periodic Table uses the old trick of invoking the periodic table (or at least the appearance of it) in order to give more scientific credence to a product. Thanks to @Meachteach for the spot.

Pen Periodic Table “Fusion of elements”? It’s a transfermium pen? As @fluorogrol points out, this really is “A perfect storm of element abuse and marketing bullshit”. Brought to us by @scburdet.

Hot Sauce Periodic Table More hot sauce abuse spotted by @scburdet once more. Surely the Ca would be the exact opposite of hot sauce, right? Right?

Nightly Show Periodic Table A Jackie Robinson connection on the @nightlyshow? Asks, @scburdet. Either way, where the hell did molybdenum go?

Barracuda Periodic Table Err…actually no, Barracuda, you’ve got all the WRONG elements. Thanks to @overheardinchem for the spot at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Ice Cream Periodic Table Honestly Sweet Science Ice Cream, this is neither ‘sweet’ or ‘science’.

TCM Periodic Table Ed. ‘guru’, Thomas C Murray abuses technetium. Or is it carbon, or are there new elements? Nope.

WS Periodic Table Wehrd science should know better!

Summer Periodic Table No, no, no Chemistry Arena, seasons are not elements!

Muscle Elements Periodic Table Muscle Elements attempts to connect ‘science’ to their product through the name and the symbolism – presumably.

Dentyne Periodic Table This IS indeed very ‘naughty’, as in, ‘naughty not being an element’. Na. Thanks to @vancew for the spot

Yoghurt Lab Periodic Table Here’s more Yogurt nonsense, this time from Yogurt Lab in Mn. Thanks to @MeachTeach for the spot.

Dow Accenture Periodic Table Sequence and duplication abuse from Dow (again) and Accenture. Tut, tut. Thanks to @chembones for the spot.

Roller Derby Periodic Table Random alphabet appears on this T-Shirt apparently listed related Roller Derby penalties – yeah, means nothing to me, either.

5 Elements Periodic Table Nathan from MA puts abuse front and center on his chest at ChemEd 2015.

Pie Five 1 - Periodic Table Scott Engler goes out for pizza at Pie Five and is extremely disappointed. No word on how the pizza was, though.

Ninja shirt Periodic Table Yeah Nerd Shirts, there is no Ninja element – but thanks, anyway.

Chem Teacher T-shirt Periodic Table Yeah, not in love with this for a multitude of reasons. but I think it fits ‘sequence abuse’ quite nicely. Just don’t wear this in class. OK?

Heavy Metal Periodic Table Heavy Metals? Sequence abuse, or is iron really a heavy metal? I think not. Either way, I would say this is abuse for Bd Idea T-shirts. Thanks to Roy Lovell for the spot.

Sparkle Periodic Table Bob Worley sees a little more sequence abuse, and he suggests that some people might be bothered by other aspects of this – I’m not.

Durham Science Cafe Periodic Table The Durham Science Cafe adds a few spurious elements to the periodic table. Di and Le make their debut!

Tide Periodic Table Tide re-christen cobalt and mercury in the interest of flogging washing powder. Thanks to Dr. Michelle for the spot.

Savage Chickens Periodic Table Look, you really can’t have any kind of ‘periodic table’ prior to the mid-late 19th century. Thanks to @scburdet for pointing out the folly of Doug Savage’s chickens!

Symbol Venn Periodic Table Sorry, but there really is no Venn diagram relationship between state abbreviations in uppercase letters and the element symbols. Pet peeve @Andrew_Taylor

Wine Periodic Table The people at @UnQuarkedWine go all out in the abuse of symbols and the table as a whole. Grrr…

Wine Periodic Table 2 And on and on. Double Grrr…

HP Periodic Table Apparently, hydrogen peroxide has the formula ‘HP’ in Californian supermarkets. Thanks to @ramusallam for the spot.


Communication is a ‘science’? Wha….?? Thanks to Simon Lancaster for pointing out the error of @AlexanderAiken‘s ways.

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Symbol abuse is rife, but this is a ‘periodic table’??? It looks like they just gave up and said that just ANY set of columns and rows counts. A miserable, miserable effort by @dannysullivan.

Growth Periodic Table

The periodic table of ‘growth hacking’? Yeah right, only one of those things is actually real. Please stop this BS @rutgerbuijzen.

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Again, I’m trying to avoid the documentation of ‘The Periodic Table Of..’ as a rule here, but the symbol abuse makes this work for me.

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The Northern Illinois Science Educators take nickel and selenium to new places.

Periodic Table T Shirt Ben Dieckman gives me the heads up on some symbol abuse, horror of horrors, in the name of ‘science’! BTW, what’s the ‘e’ element?

Periodic Table - Festivus A seasonal, sequence abuse. Blame Seinfeld, I do.

Periodic Table - Wine Glass More sequence abuse, even if it is in a good cause, this time from . Not sure that I want those elements in my wine!

Periodic Table - Ed. Tech You know something is up, when FOUR different people alert you to abuse, AND each of those people make a comment regarding my potential supreme dislike for edubabble paired with Periodic Table Abuse! It’s not that I dislike Ed. Tech per se, in fact on the contrary, it’s that I despise the use of it as a Trojan horse to introduce edubabble BS and flawed, pedagogical concepts. How I HATE this double-abuse!

Thanks for tying to kill me, @cgchemK, @S_J_Lancaster, @altotus and @Media_Barber!

Periodic Table - Minecraft Thanks to Phoebe Liu for giving me skinny on both symbol and table abuse inspired by Minecraft.

Periodic Table - Coffee Cup Thanks to @scburdet for keeping the abuse coming. This time @is_chris finds a NASTY coffee-cup. I wouldn’t trust the contents!

Periodic Table - Spicerack More from the ever vigilant @scburdet, and more from the kitchen. This time he’s keeping tabs on @jeremymberg and his silly Copper/Cumin nonsense.

Periodic Table - Non-elements Apologies but I forget who alerted me to this non-element nonsense. Fittingly, I have really no idea what this is about either (other than the fact that the abuse is rampant). I know that it’s from The Atlantic in 1999, but I really don’t understand it at all.

Periodic Table - Cougar Yeah Cougar Science Camp, there’s way too much math, physics and equations for a periodic table here. Sorry, me no like. Thanks to @pchemstud.

Minecraft Periodic Table Apparently there is an ‘official Minecraft periodic table’. Errr, no there isn’t! Thanks to Loyce Bergin for passing this little abuser on to me.

Confusion Periodic Table Confused? Yeah, I’ll say you are.

Brew Tech Periodic Table No Brewing Technologies, there is no element called stainlessium and if there were, it would probably be called chromium!

Indiana University Periodic Table C’mon IU, let’s not abuse the very lifeblood of what we do! Shouldn’t abuse of average atomic mass be accompanied by abuse of atomic number?

Wine Book - Periodic Table Thanks to @MonashMONster for this tasty but blatant, full on abuse.

Pencil Case - Periodic Table My pencils would be unhappy were they to be housed in this.

Chegg Confusion - Periodic Table Old, old, old abuse this time re-vamped (from ‘element of surprise’), by Chegg. Yawn.

Bk - Periodic Table Just like STEAM is a fictitious, made-up marketing tool, appropriately so is BK consulting’s Logo. Perfect synergy as they would say in the consulting world!

BU - Periodic Table Just like IU, BU does the dirty.

Periodic Table Jesperson Those pictures had better be those missing elements! It doesn’t look like they are to me.

Periodic Table Presidents Even though I am generally trying to avoid ‘The Periodic Table of..‘ misrepresentations, the symbols alone on this are giving me heartburn. Thanks Sherry Lynn McGregor.

Periodic Table - Canadian PM's Oh God, now the Canadians are at it. Thanks again to Sherry Lynn McGregor.

Periodic Table - Teaching Now this I REALLY dislike. It couples Periodic Table abuse with one of my own pet hates, the sickly sweet, Utopian presentation of the job of teaching. YUCK! And what’s going on with #3, anyway??

Periodic Table - Wine Periodically Any idea what 94 and 63 have to do with anything? Pu, Eu?

Periodic Table - FA Cup I have to admit that @onasixpence does some beautiful work, and this is of particular interest to me, but nonetheless, more abuse it is!

Periodic Table - Minecraft Brandon Boyd brings to my attention some symbol abuse.

Periodic Table - Fishing There’s so much wrong with this, it’s tricky to know where to start to be honest. Thanks to Matt for the spot.

Periodic Table - Cole Haan Thanks to Ivan Aprahamian (and others) for spotting this BS marketing from the people at Cole Haan.

Periodic Table - Batman An old joke. I can just about take the Na abuse, but not the Batman nonsense. A little too ‘Big Bang Theory’ for my liking. Not a superhero/comic fan, and this doesn’t lighten my mood.

Periodic Table - China Analytical It’s difficult to know where to start here, but suffice to say, this is a real humdinger! Thanks to @cjt217 for the heads up.

Periodic Table - Dr. Pepper Wrong, wrong and wrong, Dr. Pepper. Vanadium in my soda?

Periodic Table - Lochte I’m not a huge fan of John Oliver (I just don’t find him particularly funny), and I warm to Mr. Lochte even less, so when the swimmer continues to get press for being a moron and Oliver abuses the table, I’m not happy. Thanks to Christian Canfield for the heads-up.

Periodic Table - Flavor Lab Yikes, the ‘flavor lab’ might be best avoided! Shout out to Ty Walling for the spot.

Periodic Table - Beer Six Pack Holder Old problem, slightly new context, still annoying.

periodic-table-time-out Time Out butchers the Periodic Table in just about as many ways as I can imagine. Where does one start? I can’t even begin to fathom the insane lack of logic here. Thanks to @BenningtonChem for highlighting the misery.

periodic-table-chelsea A whole OTHER set of essential elements? Thanks to @paulcoxon for the insight!

Periodic Table - Trash Generally I avoid “The Periodic Table of…” abuses, but the symbol abuse here is so rife that I really have to include it. @magicmolly and @teddyblanks make a bigger mess than the garbage itself on the streets of NYC.

This really IS ‘trash’. Thanks to multiple people that pointed this out, including @reneewebs.

periodic-table-old-navy Old Navy will put ANYTHING on a T-shirt, including halogen abuse! Thanks to @hawkwing12 for the fashion faux pas.

Periodic Table - Mixology produces a mixology set that certainly has its appeal, however, it’s just plain wrong.

a2ef7ad41fbe4976510dbea4527dbf1f Whilst I approve of the things these stand for, I strong disapprove of the abuse.

img_9412 Christian Canfield alerts me to symbol abuse. Is that the chemical formula for coconut? 😉

Periodic Table - Be Nice Be Nice? Sure, but how about being right?