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25th March 2006 | Uncompleted

Towards a Periodic Table of Questions

strategic opportunities from ordering WH-questions

- / -


Introduction
Dimensions of interrogatives that merit ordered distinction
Standard periodic table adapted as a metaphoric template for ordering WH-questions
Metaphoric reinterpretations of the chemical series of the standard periodic table
Metaphoric reinterpretation of natural condition and natural occurrence
References


Introduction

The purpose in the following experiment is to determine whether there are any insights to be gained by ordering the standard set of 7-WH questions (or interrogatives) in the form of a periodic table -- using the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements as a metaphorical template. The justification for such an exploration is that the 7 interrogatives could be considered as fundamental to the organization and dynamics of knowledge space as are the chemical elements to physical and biological space. Whether this parallel is associated with fundamental isomorphism -- or merely illustrative and of mnemonic value -- is to be determined. In the first instance however, the issue is to discover whether suggestive insights emerge from using the order of the standard periodic table and its various features.

It is appropriate to note that an argument has been made in the past by Edward Haskell for a generalization of the order and application of the periodic table (cf ...) This has attracted little attention but was a factor in the development of the subject categorization of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.

Dimensions of interrogatives that merit ordered distinction

The following features could potentially be ordered in a new way:

Standard periodic table adapted as a metaphoric template for ordering WH-questions

In the table below, based entirely on a version of the periodic table of elements appearing in Wikipedia, the following adaptations have been made (in italics; hyperlinks go to relevant descriptions in Wikipedia entries, as in the original version):

Note that a major characteristic of the periodic table is that within any period, subperiods with additional elements emerge (eg the transition metals, lanthanides, actinides, etc as colour-coded) -- seemingly to break up the simple notion of a table. This means that there are other kinds of emergent periodicity which could be cause for valuable reflection in the case of any mapping of questions onto the template. This helpfully guards against premature closure.

Group → 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
  I II                     III IV V VI VII VIII
  When Where                     Which How What Who Why Po
↓ Period
1 1
"Yes"
H

2
"No"
He
2 3
Li
4
Be

5
B
6
C
7
N
8
O
9
F
10
Ne
3 11
Na
12
Mg

13
Al
14
Si
15
P
16
S
17
Cl
18
Ar
4 19
K
20
Ca
21
Sc
22
Ti
23
V
24
Cr
25
Mn
26
Fe
27
Co
28
Ni
29
Cu
30
Zn
31
Ga
32
Ge
33
As
34
Se
35
Br
36
Kr
5 37
Rb
38
Sr
39
Y
40
Zr
41
Nb
42
Mo
43
Tc
44
Ru
45
Rh
46
Pd
47
Ag
48
Cd
49
In
50
Sn
51
Sb
52
Te
53
I
54
Xe
6 55
Cs
56
Ba
*
72
Hf
73
Ta
74
W
75
Re
76
Os
77
Ir
78
Pt
79
Au
80
Hg
81
Tl
82
Pb
83
Bi
84
Po
85
At
86
Rn
7 87
Fr
88
Ra
**
104
Rf
105
Db
106
Sg
107
Bh
108
Hs
109
Mt
110
Ds
111
Rg
112
Uub
113
Uut
114
Uuq
115
Uup
116
Uuh
117
Uus
118
Uuo

* Lanthanides 57
La
58
Ce
59
Pr
60
Nd
61
Pm
62
Sm
63
Eu
64
Gd
65
Tb
66
Dy
67
Ho
68
Er
69
Tm
70
Yb
71
Lu
** Actinides 89
Ac
90
Th
91
Pa
92
U
93
Np
94
Pu
95
Am
96
Cm
97
Bk
98
Cf
99
Es
100
Fm
101
Md
102
No
103
Lr

Metaphoric reinterpretations of the chemical series of the standard periodic table (above)

       
Noble gases completed/independent, ending/beginning Alkali metals receptive/dependent, caustic
Halogens reactive, acidic Alkaline earth metals  
Nonmetals life, biological Transition metals  
Metalloids   Lanthanides  
Poor metals   Actinides  

Metaphoric reinterpretation of natural condition and natural occurrence

Natural condition
(
at standard temperature and pressure
colour of numbers in above table)
  Natural occurrence
(borders of cells in above table)
 
red are gases  
solid borders are primordial elements, which have stable isotopes older than the Earth
 
green are liquids  
dashed borders arise naturally from decay of other elements, and have no isotopes with a half-life comparable to the age of the Earth; however, some are found in trace amounts in radioactive ores
 
grey are solid  
dotted borders are synthetic elements, which do not occur naturally [californium (Cf, 98) dand its decay products are observed through their electromagnetic emissions in supernova spectra
 
   
without borders have not been discovered or synthesised yet
 

 


Undigested notes:

Quest-ions

Quest-I-ons

generic

electropositive/negative

valency / completing

periodic table /strategies

radioactive

isotopies

atomic weight

shells

traps

common molecueles: water, O2, co2, salt, gold

carbon: slippery, diamond, dirty

solid; liquid, gas, fire, plasma

paradox, dilemma

toxic

essential for life

hydrogen / helium binary -- quadrilemma

trace elements

elements of life

life "comfort zone"

shells -- link applets

shell game / hidden agenda

initiations

symbolism of elements

alternative presentations of periodic table

controversy

making: fire/fun

journey

provocations

goodness of fit

halflife

self-reflexive pattern lanaguage

creative commons license
this work is licenced under a creative commons licence.