Working Party on History of Chemistry

International Symposium «Celebrating D.I. Mendeleev’s Periodic System. A Historical Perspective»

Satellite symposium to XXI Mendeleev Congress, 10-13 September 2019, Saint Petersburg State University.

The XXI Mendeleev Congress is held under the auspices of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The symposium is supported by the EuChemS – Working Party on the History of Chemistry, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the Mendeleev Russian Chemical Society, the St. Petersburg State University and the Russian Chemists Union.

The satellite symposium will be held on the Saint Petersburg State University campus on Vasilievsky Island, while the other venues of the Mendeleev Congress will include the Saint Petersburg Mining University (also known as Gorny) and conference rooms at the Park Inn by Radisson Pribaltiyskaya St Petersburg.

The Mendeleev Congress traditionally maintains an interdisciplinary program and in the frame of the International Year of the Periodic Table, it is only fitting to have a satellite symposium celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first publication of the D. I Mendeleev’s Periodic System (PS) of the elements. This innovative and ground breaking new way of classification of the elements created the iconic Periodic Table (PT) which under different forms and presentations is still in use in every classroom around the world.

But how did this idea emerge and take form? What is the historical context of the discovery of PS? Who were the chemists involved, besides D.I. Mendeleev? How were the ideas and concepts discussed, criticized or appropriated? How did the core ideas of PS and PT develop through the 150 years that separates us from the initial publications? And how is this universal device used and accommodated for teaching, and research? How did it work in classrooms and textbooks, or appear in more popular culture as an icon of chemistry and science?

The Symposium “Celebrating D.I. Mendeleev’s Periodic System. A Historical Perspective” will gather scholars to tackle these questions pertaining to the historical emergence, development and use of the PS, and the most powerful scientific icon, the PT. While there are still much debates and ongoing discussion about the nature of the PS, the best arrangement of the elements, and the underlying laws that govern such the periodic classification, this symposium will specifically hold a historical perspective. Beyond the story of discovery, and its context, it will also examine the response and the appropriation processes that explain the longevity of this classification across time, space and culture. In particular, this symposium aims at providing space for less discussed topics such as the use of PT in textbooks and the pedagogical context, the presence of the PT in popular culture, and the role of women scientist in the development of the PS/PT.

In addition to the scientific program, the congress will include social events.

Key-Note Speakers:

Prof. Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

Mendeleev’s notion of chemical element: a key actor in the construction of the periodic table

Prof. Helge Kragh, Niels Bohr Institute, Denmark

Astrochemistry, New Elements, and Mendeleev’s Periodic Table

Prof. David E. Lewis, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA

Mendeleev, Markovnikov and the Zhurnal Russkago Khimicheskago Obshchestva: Celebrating Three Sesquicentennials

Prof. Martyn Poliakoff, University of Nottingham, England

Mendeleev’s gift to Education

Registration and conference fees:

The participants to the satellite meeting should register at the Mendeleev Congress.

Registration fees for the Mendeleev Congress. The conference fees for the satellite symposium are 250 euros.

In case of problems with the registration or payment, contact Yulia Gorbunova (yulia[at] or Elena Baum-Zaitseva (baumzai]at]

 Contact address:


Secretary of the symposium: Dr. Elena Baum-Zaitseva

Symposium website:

Past conferences:

ICHC Dates Venue Title
12ICHC 29 July-2 Aug 2019 Maastricht, The Nederlands 12th International Conference on History of Chemistry

(12ICHC Report)

11ICHC 29 Aug-2 Sept 2017 Trondheim, Norway 11th International Conference on History of Chemistry

(11ICHC report)

(Articles on and from the 11ICHC in the Norwegian chemistry journal Kjemi – in English and Norwegian)

6th EuChemS congress
 11–15 Sept 2016  Sevilla, Spain  John Dalton 250th Anniversary Symposium: Chemistry meets history
10ICHC 9–12 Sept 2015 Aveiro, Portugal Chemical Biography in the 21st Century

(10ICHC report)

9ICHC 21–24 Aug 2013 Uppsala, Sweden Chemistry in Material Culture
8ICHC 14–16 Sept 2011 Rostock, Germany Pathways of knowledge
7ICHC 2–5 Aug 2009 Sopron, Hungary Consumers and Experts: The Uses of Chemistry (and Alchemy)
6ICHC 28 Aug–1 Sept 2007 Leuven, Belgium Neighbours and Territories – The Evolving Identity of Chemistry


Other 31 Aug–3 Sept 2006 Gödöllö, Hungary History of the Food Chain
1st EuChemS Congress 27–31 Aug 2006 Budapest, Hungary Chemistry – Past, Present and Future
5ICHC 6–10 Sept 2005 Lisbon-Estoril, Portugal Chemistry, Technology and Society
4ICHC 3–7 Sept 2003 Budapest, Hungary Communication in Chemistry in Europe, across Borders and across Generations
3ICHC 2–4 July 1999 Budapest, Hungary 3rd International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry
Other 1997 Liège, Belgium History of Science Congress
2ICHC 15–19 Aug 1995 Eger, Hungary 2nd International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry
1ICHC 12–17 Aug 1991 Veszprém, Hungary Mineral Contor International Conference on the History of Chemistry and Chemical Industry