Periodic table memory pegs
Sample (from 118 notes)
|Memory sentence||Chrome-plated Creamer. 24-oz. pitcher of cream.|
|Memory sentence||Aluminum Ladder. Unlucky to walk under, and 13 is unlucky. Turquoise (blue-green) colored (turquoise is hydrated aluminum phosphate).|
|Memory sentence||Polo Stick. 7 dozen (84) polo sticks.|
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Coupled with the effort this author has gone to in making meaningful pictures of the elements that relate back to their nature, the weakness of the numerical linkages is easily fixed by relating those images to the already well established system for making numerical memory pegs. Just from reading the Wikipedia article I'm unlikely to forget the atomic number for Iodine because I already know that "Lime" can represent 53 in the major system and the image of it squirting in my eye is a particularly memorable one. Also, this has the benefit that I can recall the number 53s peg easily already so going backwards from number to element is quite easy too.
Just a suggestion. I'll be giving this deck a go myself but I'll be almost certainly using the major system for the numbers, hooking them onto the visual pegs this generous author has provided.
You are not the first person proposing alternative mnemonic systems. Shall you develop a "Mnemonic major system" for the periodic table, and shall you want to publish it for others to benefit, fell free to reach out if you need assistance. I will not rebrand this specific deck, but I would not mind helping you (or anyone else really) setup a new one.
To memorize the atomic number of Protactinium, you are to imagine a protractor measuring 91 degrees. The problem with this is that "91" could just as easily be any other number. So when you are later in a situation outside of Anki where you are trying to recall the number of Protactinium, what will most likely happen is you will think of a protractor measuring an angle... but what angle was it? Since there's no particular connection between a protractor and "91", you won't know, unless you create yet another mnemonic to remember that it's 91, but then you'd have two mnemonics for one piece of information. And if you can in fact remember that it's 91 without creating a new mnemonic, then that means you are capable of remembering connections between numbers and concepts without mnemonics—in which case why use this deck at all?
This same issue comes up again and again. The mnemonic for Americium is an American flag costing 95 dollars. Well, if you can remember how much this imaginary flag costs, then why do you need a mnemonic to remember the atomic number of Americium in the first place? The whole reason you are using mnemonics in the first place is because it is very hard for the brain to make reliable connections between numbers, which are abstract, and other things. It defeats the whole purpose of a mnemonic when the mnemonic requires that you make such a connection in order for it to work!
And these examples are not unusual. The vast majority of these are this bad. The mnemonic for Manganese simply reads "Autumn Mangos. 25 of them," and there's a picture with a mango and the number 25 on it. The last two letters of "Autumn" are bolded to help you remember Manganese's symbol. But when you are in a situation outside of Anki where you are required to recall Manganese's number, what will most likely happen is you will think "okay, Manganese—that makes me think of mangoes. But how many were there?" Why would your brain remember how many there are? If it could do that without a mnemonic, then you wouldn't need this deck! And furthermore, how are you to remember that they are "Autumn" mangoes and not any other kind of mango? There is no particular connection I can think of between "Mango" and "Autumn," so how is my brain meant to get from the former to the latter?
Some more examples: for Selenium, imagine a solar cell leaning at a 34 degree angle; for Bromine, imagine a broom with 35 bristles; for Rubidium, imagine a 37-carat ruby; for Yttrium, imagine a Y-shaped tree with a "39" carved in it. I could go on and on. They are almost all like this. Why??
And it really doesn't matter that there are pictures provided. When you are in real life outside of Anki and someone asks you for the atomic number of Manganese, I highly doubt they are going to also hold up a picture of a mango with the number 25 stamped on it! So what good is it then to see the picture in Anki? And if your response is to say, "Because if you study the deck enough, your brain will eventually build up a connection between mangoes and the number 25 due to seeing that image of a mango with the number 25 on it over and over," then my response to that is, sure, maybe after seeing the image many, many, many times the particular combination of a mango and the number 25 might get indelibly burned into your brain—but, do you know what would help you make that connection far, far quicker? An actually good mnemonic.
I would explain how to make good mnemonics, but this review is almost at the word limit. So, just look up the "mnemonic major" and "peg words" systems and advice on making images memorable. Good luck!
Thanks for this long comment. I'm with you regarding the fact that some, maybe most, mnemonics are not great. They do not make sense intuitively, and you have to study a lot to memorize. Still, for the record, I will say that you picked bad ones to make a point. There are some which are very helpful the first time you see them (I can name from the top of my head Fluorine, Aluminum, Tellurium, Einsteinium, Nobelium, Rutherfordium).
Thing is, I used this technique to learn the entire periodic table in three to four months. You claim "[you will try to] recall the number of Protactinium, what will most likely happen is you will think of a protractor measuring an angle... but what angle was it?", I can tell you that this does not happen to me. I made the connection from Protactinium to 91 and I do not think of the protractor anymore.
Finally, you ask for actually good mnemonics based on anther system. I am fully open to proposals. The deck is shared here, and open-sourced on GitHub. You can download it, modify what you want, and share it! I would love to assist such an initiative, so feel free to reach out.
I did my own deck for this, but now switched to this one, huge thanks!
My only criticism is that it should have tags, for rows, columns and groups of 10 to make it easier to learn. Sometimes I just want to learn 10-20 for example, or the “Halogen” group.
In the most up-to-date version of the deck (that you should be able to download on this page), element 105 is correctly named Dubnium, with a matching sentence and image!
Would you mind sharing ideas for the elements missing here? I have the deck hosted on GitHub, contributions are welcome. If you don't feel like opening a GitHub account, you'll find an email address on my profile there.
In general, those clues and pictures are great when it comes to remembering the names of the elements, while they are not so good when it comes to the numbers. A typical example would be element number 62, samarium. The memory clue here is a samurai sword that has been used for 62 generations. While the sword gives a fast and easy clue to remember samarium, there is really no way to picture that it has been used for 62 generations. You'll just have to remember that the same way you would without a clue. Most notes suffer from this problem, even though there are a number of really good exceptions.
In retrospect, my advice would be to use a memory palace to remember the numbers. If you don't know what that is, google it. There's probably no better way to remember things that come in a numerical order.
This is not meant as criticism of the deck. Creating good image clues for 108 numbers would be almost impossible. And if you use a memory palace you would probably use the authors great pictures to represent the elements, which is a help that few other decks gives you.
In my opinion though, it's important to avoid learning the table in numerical order. When challenged about element 35, I don't want to recite the whole sequence.
Anyway, thank you for the feedback! I'm very happy to know the deck is useful ; if your technique differs I'm fine with it! You can certainly configure Anki to present the cards in numerical order if that's what works for you!
Only thing is, when using nightmode, it is almost impossible to see anything. Maybe it needs some updates regarding the background color matching :)
Night mode has been implemented and released today (20th March 2020) thanks to a contributor on GitHub. You can download and update the deck and test is with Anki version 2.1.20 or above!
However, Dubnium (Db, 105) is incorrectly named Hahnium (Ha, 105) and elements above 105 are missing.
Depending on when you downloaded the deck, you may need to manually remove the cards with Note ID 1484952780480. This cards are duplicates for Dubnium cards; so you will find them near Element 105 in the Anki cards browser. To see the Note ID of a card in the browser, right-click on a card and select Info.
Also, the memory hints contain false information. For instance, that TV tubes are filled with Xenon.
Finally some numbers are really vague. For instance, Iodine costs 53 cents or a praying mantis eats 59 bugs.
Had to redo most of the texts and pics to remove inaccurate information and US-centric references.
Works great if you treat it as a template.
I think these sorts of issues, along with minor spelling mistakes, and the changing nature of science, could be fixed by hosting this deck on Github in the same way that the [Ultimate Geography deck](https://github.com/axelboc/anki-ultimate-geography) does so. Then when mistakes are fixed (by the community) the cards are simply rebuilt, with the same card ids, and reimported as an update which keeps users progress. I'm willing to create the repo and get things started, let me know what you think by email: ohare93 @ gmail.com
Regarding the lower rows, I decided to alter the original presentation because the IUPAC has not decided which elements constitute group 3 of the Periodic Table  and I personally like this presentation more. But I am open to discuss this!
Regarding the Github project idea: I opened a repo with the basic constituents of the deck . Feel free to submit a pull-request there! I will try to adapt it to the layout you suggested during the coming week!
Also, it'd be cool to have till 108 now that they have official names.
The deck is absolutely hilarious and adorable, making the dull job of learning the periodic table more enjoyable than expected. You know how an interesting story could stuck in your head with you forever, way better than a dry fact could? Try learning this deck.