Early Life and Family Background:

Birth and Childhood: Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was born on February 8, 1834, in the village of Verkhnie Aremzyani, near Tobolsk in Siberia, Russia. He was the youngest of 14 children, though many of his siblings did not survive into adulthood. His father, Ivan Pavlovich Mendeleev, was a teacher of fine arts, politics, and philosophy, but he went blind and lost his job, leading to financial hardship for the family.

Dmitri Mendeleev in 1899
Dmitri Mendeleev in 1899

Mother’s Role: His mother, Maria Dmitrievna Kornilieva, took over the running of a glass factory after her husband's blindness and eventual death. Despite the family's financial struggles, Maria was determined to provide a good education for Dmitri. She took him on a long journey to Moscow and later to St. Petersburg to ensure he received proper schooling.


Early Education: Mendeleev's education began in Tobolsk. His mother’s determination and sacrifices enabled him to enter the Main Pedagogical Institute in St. Petersburg in 1850.

Graduation: He graduated in 1855 with a degree in science, particularly excelling in chemistry.

Early Career and Studies Abroad:

Initial Teaching Career: After graduating, Mendeleev started his teaching career. His early work included teaching at secondary schools and conducting research.

Study in Germany: In 1859, Mendeleev received a government scholarship to study abroad. He traveled to Heidelberg, Germany, where he worked with notable scientists such as Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff. During this period, he conducted significant research on the capillarity of liquids and the behavior of gases.

Academic Career in Russia:

Return to Russia: Upon returning to Russia in 1861, Mendeleev became a professor at the Saint Petersburg Technological Institute. His innovative teaching methods and engaging lectures quickly gained him a reputation as an excellent educator.

Saint Petersburg State University: Later, he became a professor of general chemistry at Saint Petersburg State University. His lectures were attended by many students, and he made significant contributions to the academic environment.

Development of the Periodic Table:

Textbook Writing: While writing his textbook "Principles of Chemistry" in the 1860s, Mendeleev sought a systematic way to classify the 63 known elements.

Periodic Law and Table: In 1869, Mendeleev published his first version of the periodic table, which arranged elements by increasing atomic mass and grouped them by similar properties. He left gaps for elements that had not yet been discovered, predicting their properties with remarkable accuracy.

Validation of Predictions: The subsequent discovery of elements such as gallium (1875), scandium (1879), and germanium (1886) validated Mendeleev’s predictions and solidified the acceptance of his periodic law.

Contributions Beyond the Periodic Table:

Industrial Chemistry: Mendeleev made significant contributions to the Russian chemical industry, especially in the fields of petroleum and explosives. His research on petroleum led to advancements in refining processes and the petrochemical industry.

Advocacy for Education: Mendeleev was a passionate advocate for scientific education and promoted the importance of incorporating science into the broader educational curriculum. He supported the establishment of scientific institutions and was an advocate for women's education.

Later Life and Recognition:

Scientific Endeavors: Throughout his career, Mendeleev continued to explore various scientific fields, including the study of gases and solutions. His research contributed to a better understanding of these areas and influenced subsequent scientific developments.

Death: Dmitri Mendeleev passed away on February 2, 1907, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, just shy of his 73rd birthday. His death marked the end of a prolific career dedicated to scientific inquiry and education.


Periodic Table: Mendeleev's periodic table revolutionized chemistry and remains a fundamental tool in scientific research and education. His predictions about undiscovered elements and their properties demonstrated the power of his periodic law.

Recognition: Despite being nominated three times, Mendeleev never received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. However, his legacy endures through his work, and the element mendelevium (Md), with atomic number 101, was named in his honor.

Impact on Science: Mendeleev’s work laid the foundation for modern chemistry. His periodic table provided a framework for understanding the relationships between elements and predicting the properties of new ones, demonstrating the profound impact of his scientific intuition and methodology.