8 Curious Periodic Tables


One thing I love about the internet is the never-ending supply of geeks with a sense of humor. Most of us learned about the periodic table of elements in junior high school (middle school to you younger folks). Some understand and remember it well enough to adapt the template into an organizational table for other things besides elements. Go ahead, have a seat at one of these tables!

1. Mad Men

Mad Men is one of the more popular cable TV series, but if you joined late, you've got three years of story to catch up on. This Periodic Table of Mad Men can help. Emily Miethner organized the characters, cultural references, secrets, and disappointments in the story arc. Only someone with a very deep understanding of the show could categorize all this so elegantly! See the whole thing in a readable size here.

2. Rockin'

Roadside Jesus' Periodic Table of Rockin' was designed in 1987. Like the periodic table of elements, this one is categorized by various types of metals, nonmetals, and gasses which correspond to music, of course. Hendrix and Zeppelin share top honors, with Weird Al Yankovic having the highest "atomic weight".

3. Breakfast Cereals

A mind-boggling variety of breakfast cereals prompted Catherine Weese to create the Periodic Breakfast Table, originally published in 2wice magazine. The various cereals are arranged by shape, texture, and flavor.

4. Cheeses

The Periodic Table of Cheeses was supposedly devised by blind Russian chef Anatoli Grigor Konchalovsky in 1867, but that name appears nowhere but on the table itself and its merchandising sites. Still, it's a good story. The cheeses are arranged by consistency and grouped as "noble cheeses", "chemically unstable cheeses", and "theoretical cheeses".

5. Herbs 'N Spices

The Periodic Table of Herbs 'N Spices contains puns and subtle jokes. Spices are not grouped by attributes, but by how the name of the spice can be linked to the symbols on the original table of elements, sometimes quite tenuously.

6. Produce Storage

This periodic table will educate you on the best ways to store garden produce. Each food is grouped as a fruit, vegetable, or herb and spice, and storage instructions include how long the food should be good if stored properly. Probably the most useful of the tables listed.

7. Super Powers

To understand your comic book super heroes and keep them straight, consult the Periodic Table Of Super-Powers by ComicsAlliance writer Chris Sims. Powers are grouped into origin stories, physical powers, and mental powers. Only a small portion of the table is shown here. Note that any comic book hero may have any number and combination of powers.

8. Irrational Nonsense

Crispian Jago's Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense is a contradiction in that it aspires to organize irrationalities. Psychics and conspiracy theories lead the way, followed by everything from Bigfoot to poltergeists to various religions. Shown is a portion; see the full size version as well. A few of the elements in this table are also found in the super powers table.


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, website, 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.

9 Strange Periodic Tables was heavy on food, as we looked at periodic tables of pumpkins, beer, Gummi Bears, Scoville Units, Canada, smellaments, a picnic table, and a periodic table of periodic tables.