9 Strange Periodic Tables


Like Venn diagrams and flowcharts, the periodic table of elements gives us a geeky form in which to sort and convey all kinds of information. In what has become a semi-annual series, here are more periodic tables put to interesting, but not necessarily elemental uses.

1. Scoville Units

The Periodic Table of Scoville Units plots out different peppers and their "heat" as measured by the Scoville scale. At the top are sweet bell peppers and pimentos. The table leads up to the bhut jolokia, which has a heat index of over a million Scoville units! It's brought to you by the Scoville Food Institute, which sells hot sauce.

2. Canadian Periodic Table

The Canadian periodic table is printed on a t-shirt. The elements of Canadian culture and pop culture start with Eh (self explanatory) and Hy (hockey) at the top. Among the other elements are Dudley Do Right (Dd), Tim Horton's (Tm), and Beaver (Bv).

3. Periodic Picnic Table

The periodic picnic table was built by Nazila Alimohammadi and Anna Clark in 2003 at Wake Forest University. I don't know if it is still in place on the campus.

4. Periodic Tablecloth

Janet Goodrich made this periodic tablecloth as a teaching aid for a class of 15 young children. It's a matching game of the periodic table of elements, drawn on a tablecloth!

5. Periodic Table of Smellements

Natalie Dee created a periodic table of things you can smell and called them smellements. Air and dust are at the top, and the various smellements are categorized as neutral, atmospheric, natural, appetizing, funky, pleasant, kinda bad, and freaking gross. Pictured is just a small portion of the table; to see which elements are freaking gross, you'll need to see the whole table.

6. Gummi Bear Table

Artist Kevin Van Aelst made a periodic table that doesn't have any information, but who cares? It's made out of Gummi Bears!

7. Beer Styles

The more beer you drink, the more you find that there is a world of different varieties. Beers for Engineers gives us this Period Table of Beer Styles. What you see illustrated is a small portion, There's plenty of reading material in the original.

8. Pumpkins

The Periodic Table of Pumpkins doesn't classify pumpkins at all. This table classifies the elements in the classic manner, but the table itself is composed of carved Jack-o-Lanterns! The Clarkson University chapter of the American Chemical Society carved these to celebrate National Chemistry Week in 2001. They look nice lit up from inside as well.

9. Meta

The table that prompted me to post this list today is the new Periodic Table of Periodic Tables from Keaggy.com. It had to happen sooner or later! Check out the biggest size at Flickr and you'll see references to most of the periodic tables we've featured here at one time or another, plus some that are hard to pin down and some that have yet to be created.


The earliest post on this subject, Periodic Tableware includes comic book characters, desserts, and funk music. And a couple of real tables you can work or eat at!

More Periodic Tableware covers those of candy, vegetables, websites, and mathematicians. And don't forget the periodic table shower curtain available in the mental_floss store!

8 Alternative Periodic Tables looked at the subjects of cupcakes, typefaces, printing projects, cartoons, video game characters, videos about the real elements, LEGO® bricks, and something called awesoments which will become clear when you take a look.

8 Odd Periodic Tables has tables for elephants, Chuck Norris, social media, game controllers, mixology, rejected elements, interacting elements, and vulgarity.