INTRODUCTION AND SURVEY
Our task is to learn the mineral substance as medicinal agents for the living organism and primarily for man. This requires looking over an almost infinite amount of scattered material and arranging it for practical purposes. On the one side we have the psychosomatic unit man who seems to present an enormous diversity in systems of powers, and infinite source of problems which from all our physiochemical, physiologic and psychologic and pathologic interrogation seems to grow ever more complex- on the other side we have the apparently simple natural mineral bodies, indeed the original material. It is the power relationships of these two types of natural forms which we desire to learn. It is logical that we look over at first the simplest, the basic materials or elements from which the entire character of the world accessible to our senses and from which the human body is composed.
THE PERIODIC SYSTEM OF ELEMENTS
Materially considered the entire world is composed of ninety-two elements or, more correctly, the analysis of the world shows ninety-two elements. Of these only two, elements 85 and 87, are unknown. If elements exist of higher atomic weight than uranium which is the 92nd, then it must be assumed that they are still less stable than uranium which is continually in the process of destruction. The newer investigation has pressed to the immediate vicinity of a claim to a complete knowledge of all the elements of the world. But not only the delineation of the diversity of all possible elements and their almost complete knowledge is attained but also the requirement towards unification has been widely accomplished for, in principle, it is plausible from exact atom investigation that these ninety-two elements are composed ultimately of one basic substance, hydrogen, H. Still, at present, this is only of theoretic interest.
The series of elements has become a system through the discovery of a principle of classification. Mendelejeff and Lothar Meyer in 1869 and 1870 arranged the elements then known according to their atomic weights and, by breaking down the series according to seven elements obtained a periodic system. In broad outlines it was thereby shown that the elements whose chemical relationship were then known came to stand under each other as a alkalies lithium, Li, natrium, Na, potassium, K, rubidium, Rb, caesium, Cs, in the first column and the halogens fluorine, F, chlorine, Cl, bromine, Br, iodine, I, in the seventh. But new investigation has brought a final arrangement of the system of elements and also the correct arrangement principle. Thereby the periodic system of elements has become a natural system. Now we finally have certain ground beneath our feet (see Table 1). We call the horizontal series the periods; at the beginning stands a period with only two elements, hydrogen, H, and helium, He; then follows two periods of eight, then two periods of eighteen, then a period of thirty-two. After the great period of thirty-two elements there follows an incomplete period of six remaining elements.
The period numbers of 2,8,18,32 are not an accident but they are connected with the structure of the atom. As is well known, today we believe that the atom consists of a positive nuclear charge around which one or more tracks of negative electrons circulate. Now the period numbers depend on the number of tracks and the number of electrons. Here one need not go into further details.
Nowadays the standard arrangement or division principle is no longer the atomic weight but the so-called ordinal number, which in the table stands over each atom symbol. This ordinal number is equal to the number of positive charge units of the atom nucleus involved. Since the atom nucleus again consists of positive protons and negative nuclear electrons, the ordinal number Z equals the excess of positive protons P over the negative nuclear electrons, E, Z,=P-E. The atomic weight which was formerly the basis of classification is only an approximation function of the true ordinal number. Since the ordinal number represents only a definite positive nuclear excess, the total number of nuclear charges and thereby the atomic weight is not unequivocally demonstrated by this difference. Actually it is known of many elements that in spite of equal ordinal numbers they are still of different composition, and they differ in the total number of charges. One more or one less pair of protons or nuclear electrons allows the ordinal number to remain unchanged, giving a so-called isotope, that is, a type of elements belonging to the same place in the periodic system. The union of such isotopes in which the absolute number of charges is different is actually decisive for the atomic weight of an element. Therefore the atomic weight for oxygen=16 should not be a whole number (see Table 2). But since the chemical separation can go no farther than to the elements and the isotopes are only physical masses, for our consideration the chemical elements remain the ultimate units. But it is indeed possible that the individual isotopes of an element are definitely different for living processes. We do not know. The position number in the periodic system, the ordinal number, or, what is the same, the number of excesses in positive charge units, is the characteristic for each element. Only in few elements is there a spontaneous radiation of nuclear charges, radioactive destruction, with the transmutation of the element to a lower ordinal number and in single ones, an artificial attack on the nucleus has been successful, particularly by destruction with cathode rays.
The ordinal number is the quantitative expression for the property of each element. Likewise the still less accessible structure of the system of charges is certainly of even greater significance. The specificity of an element is to be sought in the number and structure of charges; through them both the speed and the impulse of movement is given so that one might well say: the rhythm of self-radiation of the single elementary atom. By the number of nuclear charges from within will the arrangement of electrons rule out to the outer limit of electron atmosphere as a solar system by its sun. The law by which the atom structure is controlled will be dictated by the size of the nuclear charge through the intervention of electrical attractions and repulsions whose uniform adjustment extends out to the atom periphery.
And this outermost atom periphery is the site of origin of chemical valences. The chemical actions of the atoms are determined by the electrons of the outermost ring and on their number and their arrangement depend the chemical properties of the element. While we see fixed in the nuclear charges, their number and structure, the inner autonomy of the element, we find in the number and arrangement of the outer valence electrons the outward connection of atoms to each other, its combination possibilities and chemical relationships.
The equalities in the outer electron rings of the elements come in to expression in the vertical series or groups of the periodic system. The position in these groups is the standard for the manner of chemical reaction and thereby the chemical similarity of the single elements. These groups of affinity are given compulsorily in the natural erection of the system. A glance over the vertical series of the system on the 8 chief and 7 accessory series and the 3 triads in which Group VIII stands in the middle and moreover the sister group of rare earths informs without further ado that the chemical affinities of the elements in this classification are brought into the correct arrangement. Because of the great significance the periodic system and the chemical kinships have for us, we should devote a brief genetic and general chemical consideration to it.
Let us represent the formation of elements as they must have occurred in the world development. An atom is made out of the one preceding it in the periodic system through addition (or better, inclusion, because it concerns the internal structure) of a hydrogen particle, that is, a nuclear charge unit and an outer electron. In it the number of outer electrons grows only stepwise in the formation of a new element, for the capturing power of the outer ring attains a limit which cannot be surpassed or it could no longer maintain an equilibrium. For reasons of stability further electrons must take a place on a new outer ring. As with the year rings of a tree the ring, outer- most until then, will pass within. Exactly as living organisms can maintain development only in certain forms so there is a law of self-preservation for the development of materials. The difference is merely that in inanimate objects it can be calculated what forms have the best durability and what have not. Then entire idea of the development of the atom rests upon the Bohr atom model conception which is well founded on chemical systematics and spectroscopic facts. We have every reason for the belief that the outermost ring of electrons (or better, electron shell) cannot surpass the number of 8 electrons without losing its stability. But those elements whose outer ring is saturated by 8 electrons are chemically inert and among these is the so-called noble gas helium, He (which, naturally, since it has an ordinal number of only 2, can have only 2 electrons in the outer ring, neon, Ne, argon, Ar, krypton, Kr, xenon, Xe and emanation, Em). This group in our table is designated as the O-group. The noble gases are stable because their outer electron ring is complete, they have no loosely locked electrons which they can detach and no electron hunger. Since they do not enter into chemical reactions, we can leave them out of consideration. Theoretically they interest us as types of electromechanical stability or saturation of the atom form.