8 Pop Culture Periodic Tables

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We've posted many, many versions of periodic tables that have nothing to do with elements. That's because the structure of the table is such a delightfully geeky way to organize almost any data set containing multiple items that need to be categorized. That goes for TV shows, movies, food, and other modern pop culture worlds. Check out these eight fairly new tables.

1. Breaking Bad Periodic Table

Since the title graphics on the AMC series Breaking Bad are modeled after the elements of the periodic table, you'd think there would be a lot of actual tables about the show. I found a couple. The periodic table shown here was designed by Freddy Antonio Vargas and has all the characters in Breaking Bad, headed, of course, by Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Their families and/or allegiances are noted by the color groups.

There's also a periodic table at the bottom of this infographic about deaths in the series. It contains spoilers if you're not current with the series.

2. The Tables of Thrones

This table contains spoilers! The HBO series Game of Thrones has so many characters, you need a chart to keep up with them -so Christian Petersen made one, in the form of a periodic table. Characters are divided into clans (by color), and whether they are living or dead (in the fine print). That's the spoilers. And the chart is available to buy at Etsy

3. The Periodic Table of Middle Earth

Is this the ultimate geek mashup or what? Emil Johansson has sorted and categorized 114 characters of J.R.R. Tolkien's world and arranged them in the style of the periodic table of the elements. Each has a number, symbol, birth and death dates, and other information as necessary. Lord of the Rings is such an epic tale that you need a program to consult occasionally (or often), and this table makes a handy short form for that purpose. See the full size table at LotrProject.

4. Periodic Table of Star Wars (the Original Trilogy)

To celebrate Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios this year, Etckt made a periodic table featuring the characters from Star Wars! Of course, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are the most elemental characters, with Grand Moff Tarkin up there too for some reason. You can recognize some characters by their initials and standing, or see the full-size version at Etckt to read them. The allegiances of the characters are categorized, and their order of appearance and movies are numbered, although in the Arabesh language.

5. Periodic Table of Star Wars (the Prequels)

Then they followed that one up with a periodic table of Star Wars Prequels. Each element cell is now a cube (rendered as hexagons), with all the pertinent information, and elements/characters categorized as Jedi, Sith, royalty, politicians, droids, etc. Of course, Anakin Skywalker heads the table, along with Qui-Gon Jin.

6. Periodic Table of The Muppets

The Periodic Table of The Muppets, designed by Mike Boon of Mike BaBoon Design, was featured not too long ago right here at mental_floss. You really have to know your Muppets to figure them all out! The print is available to purchase

7. The Periodic Table of McDonald's

This one doesn't resemble the periodic table of the elements as much as "just a chart," but they named it The Periodic Table of McDonald's. It might help if you ever encounter scenarios like this: I ordered the Bacon Cheese Quarter Pounder, and my husband ordered the Bacon Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder. They were exactly the same price, but his had lettuce and tomato in addition to the habanero ranch sauce (they also mislabeled them, so I ate his). He was a little put out that two sandwiches of the same price had such different compositions, meaning he wanted the lettuce and tomato. But now we have a handy chart that explains exactly what is on (or in) every item on the McDonald's menu. No more surprises! The full size chart is at Bloomberg Businessweek.

8. The Walking Dead

Since there seems to be a periodic table for every other pop culture phenomenon, I looked for a periodic table of The Walking Dead. I found this art from Tracey Gurney. The design is available on t-shirts. Why is this periodic table so small, with only four elements? I found the answer at Daryl Dixon Facts

See also: More Periodic Tableware.

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July 18, 2013 - 12:32pm
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