Every science student is familiar with the Periodic Table of the Elements.  It is one of the great “patterns” in nature discovered by careful, painstaking work in chemistry by many scientists over many years.  The one who is most famous for putting the pieces together in a systematic way is our scientist of the month, Dmitri Mendeleev.

The following quote is taken from Pioneer Explorers of Intelligent Design: Scientists Who Made a Difference by Dr. Donald DeYoung (BMH Books, 2006), p. 67.

One of 17 children, Mendeleev was told by his mother to “patiently search divine and scientific truth.”  He firmly believed in Scripture, especially Proverbs 25:2 which says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search out a matter.”  Mendeleev thus saw chemistry as a royal and godly pursuit.  He was led to seek out the underlying order to the atomic elements based on their weights and other properties.  In Mendeleev’s funeral procession in St. Petersburg, Russia, his appreciative students carried a large banner displaying the periodic table of the elements.

Coming from a religious family, Mendeleev naturally viewed the world as an orderly system amenable to scientific investigation.  It is said he first got the idea of the periodic table in a dream, and the next day began working out the pattern.  As he was building the table, his belief that the pattern he saw emerging would continue led him to take the intellectual leap of leaving spots blank in the table, in faith believing that elements would be discovered to fill the blank spots.  He predicted the existence of gallium, germanium and scandium, for instance, and even was able to predict some their properties by interpolating from other known elements in similar positions on the table….

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