Methods to Memorizing the Periodic Table

For my first large (-ish?) project, I’d like to memorize the periodic table.

However, I’m not 100% on how to go about doing this. The primary information that I’d like to memorize would be the atomic number, atomic mass (to 6 significant figures), the name, and the symbol.

I imagine the best way to memorize the atomic mass is to encode it using the Major system – I think that will work fine. My only issues arise with the other 3 aspects.

My original idea was to place 4 images per location (3 for the atomic mass and 1 to remind me of the element’s symbol), and from that I could random access any element based on its atomic number. However, this leaves me with trouble when I need to access the number from the name or the symbol.

I’m thinking it might be best to simply “learn” the associations between the name and symbol, but should I do the same thing for the atomic number? I feel like there MUST be a better way, so that I can look up the atomic number by only having the element name or symbol.

Can anyone give me any advice on how to approach this?

An additional note: If possible, further down the line I want the ability to be able to append certain other information onto the element, like… electro-negativity, density, etc… If you can suggest any good methods for allowing this sort of appending, I would love to hear them!


I found this:

It seems like it could be very useful in connecting the names and numbers. The symbols, I think, can just be straight-up learned.


The periodic table should be a good project to memorise as it consists of numbers and names plus symbols. I would approach this by using a memory palace and split areas of the palace into the element groups then create a complex image consisting of images for each element, its symbol and its atomic weight using your number conversion method (major, dominic etc.) For example Argon (Ar, 18) I would create a complex image of Jason (from Jason and the ARGONauts) hobbling around on a wooden leg doing pirate impressions (Aarrrr… Arrrr…) wearing a buddhist monks saffron robes (18 in my number system).

I memorized the periodic table using 118 pegs from the major system and then i associated to every peg an image that represents the name of the element and one or two images that represent the mass of the element.
Here’s an example (the images i use are in italian so this may not come out very well…)
79 > the peg for 79 is cab > the 79th element is gold, so i think about a cab made of gold > the mass of gold is 196.967 that becomes stopwatch and paycheck >> as soon as i get in the cab the driver starts his stopwatch and when i get home i need to cash my last paycheck to pay the cab driver.

Associating the elements to the pegs allows you to have easy access to the information and you don’t need an image for the atomic number because the peg already represents this piece of information.

Hi everyone, while I was working on my 1.000 object system I had the idea to create a list of 100 elements. And I did:

This system is not using any codification like the Major System. I explain everything in my article where you also find a video with all 100 images for the elements.

There is a comment in this site that I found very interesting about this topic:

Linking to with nice pictures (as a good start) to learn the Periodic Table of the Elements.

I wouldn’t use four images per location for three reasons:

  1. each element contains multiple images, and you may want to add more information later, for the noble gases, for instance
  2. among that information is the atomic mass number. If you use 1 per loci, you do not need to memorize the atomic mass number at all. Which leads to #3:
  3. the atomic mass numbers and the serial orientation of the loci reciprocally reinforce eachother, so memorizing the elements is an excellent, not to mention painless, way to memorize the numbers of each of your loci in a long path. I would even create a brand new path for this reason alone. You can never have too many loci.

On a side note, if you want to breathe life into the table, either before or after memorizing it, I recommend the book ‘The Disappearing Spoon’.

I trained my elements images a little bit and it works quite well. It is surprising how easy it was to get the names of them all into my head, although I am just using these common objects for them. The more difficult ones had to get some mnemonic hooks working with images but it wasn’t complicated or difficult at all.

I agree with LocilnTheSky: There are many interesting facts related to each element. It might be useful in the future to learn them and a single loci per element (or in my case a single number from my numbers system) will be much easier to build on.

There are some great images in these videos for elements 1 to 63 that you might find helpful: