Google Research team Big Picture has created a new interactive infographic to help you explore the periodic table. It won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s a simple way to visualize the tremendous layers of data lurking within one of the world’s most recognizable charts.
The classic design of the table was created by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1863, organizing the then-known elements by number of electrons. Inspired by a graphic that sized the elements to reflect their abundance, Big Picture’s chart shows how much of each element exists in a variety of places. By clicking filters on the left, the table resizes according to the elements’ mention in books, and how much is found in the human body, the sea, the sun, and the earth’s crust. The chart also adjusts to represent the volume of the atoms themselves. The entire graphic can be viewed either as a 3-D bar chart or as cubes, while another setting beautifully and simply displays the number of electrons in each atom, revealing the logic of Mendeleev’s original design. Have fun, nerds.