I am memorizing the periodic table of elements


Wish me luck everyone, I’m attempting to memorize the periodic table of elements for the first time. I have just came back to mnemonics training after having been away from it for a long while. I’ve successfully memorized about 25 random abstract and concrete words a day for the last few days, and feel confident that by combining the Alphabet System, the Phonetic (Major) System, and the Loci technique that I can successfully memorize the entire table within about two weeks by learning 10 elements a day. Since I have not been practicing daily for several months it will be slower for me than someone of that practice level.

I have several motivating reasons to do this. Let me state them publicly in a place I feel comfortable - namely here with other Mnemonists.

1st) I gave a free seminar recently on the art and history of mnemonics to a small neuroscience meetup group. Everyone was so enthusiastic about it that it re-ignited a dormant passion that I myself had for this art. However, I was out of practice and could not perform any fantastical feats of memory, except to point to the fact that people who compete in memory championships can perform those acts. I want to have practical knowledge memorized and ready to impress people with who might want to join my memory club or even hire me as a memory trainer.

2nd) I always struggled immensely in school to learn basic science and mathematics. This difficulty continued well into college and I want to prove to myself that with training and practice, I can be brilliant at both of these subjects if I want to. I would also love to have a strong foundation of general knowledge about the chemical elements - that way when I read other books on science or take science college courses, I will have a large matrix web of interconnected memories on these topics.

3rd and lastly) I want to get much better at using my infinite creativity to learn with mnemonics. All of us possess an infinite capacity to think creatively, and the more we practice using it, the more we will be able to use it.

Please anyone who has done this with the periodic table let me know and feel free to make suggestions.

(Josh Cohen) #2

You might be interested in Learning How to Learn and A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley, or at least the story behind it.

What information from the periodic table do you want to memorize? Just the elements and the positions or the atomic weights too?


Thank you Josh for your interest in this endeavor. I actually did go through Barbara Oakley’s entire Coursera course on Learning How to Learn, about three weeks ago, and watched several YouTube videos of her speaking. I was trying to learn French for a short while, but after realizing those same learning strategies work well for mathematics, I started studying it daily at home. The only time I ever studied math was so I could use it to pass tests, but now I switched my thinking around and I study it for the sake of understanding it’s inner beauty and the extraordinary insights I can acquire from studying it - I study it to learn the culture surrounding the history and current uses of it as well (advice for studying which I got from Benny Lewis in his book Fluent in 3 Months: Tips and Techniques to Help You Learn Any Language. I also read books and short articles on mathematics for the general public - such as The Best Writings on Mathematics edited by Mircea Pitici, and any books by Ian Stewart. I currently study a great deal of geometry and algebra at home almost daily with the use of YouTube videos and books. I find that I can learn it very well, even brilliantly, without the pressure of being graded and keeping a fast pace - and what do ya know, that is exactly how the top countries in the world (on mathematics scores) teach their students (Finland, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, etc.). It is imperative that I do nothing to trigger my PES-PTSD (Public Education System Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). hahaha!

I successfully memorized the first 15 elements using a combination of the Feinaigle Artificial Memory Palace, combined with the Phonetic “Major” System. I memorized the name, symbol, atomic number, atomic weight, the exact number of electrons per shell for each element, and the family class (non metals, noble gas, etc.). However, I stopped after that and developed a deep burning interest in gathering a deeper insight into chemistry. My enthusiasm is critical to my memory, and for me to develop a greater interest in the chemical elements I am memorizing, I decided to delve deeper. I also learned that at the atomic level and molecular level, chemical elements have a polyhedral shape. This fascinated me to no end - given that I am also studying geometry and algebra daily.

In my teenage years I studied nothing and learned nothing and smoked a great deal of marijuana, due to the crummy inner-city schools I attended and my parents’ complete lack of education which influenced me; in my early twenties I read all the best books on fitness, nutrition, Bruce Lee, personal development/self-help/positive thinking, business and investing (including all the classics on Warren Buffett) - I did this while trying to start a business and do multi-level marketing; in my mid twenties I read everything I could on the nature of logical thinking, creative thinking, learning skills, memory, psychology, genius, and history; in my late twenties I read all of Shakespeare’s classic plays, and many other classic plays, in addition to reading over a hundred classic short stories and several novels listed as “classics.” I am now in my early thirties, and the evolution continues.


This is probably way too late, but I learned the Mind Palace technique today and memorized the periodic table in under an hour. It’s very simple once you’ve given it a few tries on small things. Choose an element, and whatever that element sounds like, or an object pops up in your head, use that to remember it. For example, when I hear lithium, I think of lithium batteries. For that one, my trash bin is overflowing in batteries. Do this for every element, or you can group them, and it should be pretty simple.