Mnemonic for periodic table (Hi! He lithely bellowed boringly…)

There are quite a few mnemonics out there for remembering the periodic table (see below), but here is ours. Main features of this are (1) It does not require any filler words, (2) The first two letters of the word (and sometimes more) are generally consistent with either the symbol or the name of the element. The general theme is one of  a car crash-test gone comically wrong.

Crash-test of a 2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS at the...

Crash-test of a 2010 Hyundai Tucson GLS at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Research Center. IIHS crash test page Category:Hyundai_Tucson_LM Category:Crash tests Category:Blue SUVs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

H: Hi!,

He: He

Li: lithely

Be: bellowed

B: boringly.

C: Car

N: nicely

O: on

F: fire

Ne: nearby. (Pause for noble gas!)

Na: Nasty

Mg: magnesium

Al: alloys.

Si: Silly

P: people

S: should

Cl: clear

Ar: area. (Health and safety rules.) (Pause for noble gas!)

K: Keep

Ca: calling

Sc: scattering

Ti: titans

V: vandals. (The test scientists are all running away in panic, unfortunately breaking the cables that were recording the crash. Thereafter things quieten down and the tidy-up starts.)

Cr: Crash

Mn: man

Fe: ferries

Co: cobbers. (The cobbers are the crash-test dummies. They are extracted and taken away.)

English: Purple Swamphen feeding chicks, Porph...

Purple Swamphen feeding chicks, Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus; wild birds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ni: Nice

Cu: cute

Zn: zany

Ga: gallinule (a type of marsh bird with purple feathers, Porphyrio porphyrio, New Zealand Pukeko)

Ge: genes

As: are

Se: selecting

Br: broken

Kr: krypton. (A bird is picking through the wreckage looking for super-powers that will help it fly better – gallinules are not great fliers!) (Pause for noble gas!)

That’s all for now!

Try these other mnemonics:

Update 29/11/2013: We created this mnemonic to help remember the order of things during a bigger task, which is to explain the Table of Nuclides (isotopes). You can see the results of this in the following journal paper (open access): Explanation of the Table of Nuclides:  Qualitative nuclear mechanics from a NLHV design. Applied Physics Research, 2013, 5(6), 145-174. doi:


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  1. #1 by BallroomJam on June 2, 2013 - 1:14 am


    You might be interested in one we’ve done in song form for all 118 elements:


  2. #2 by Dirk Pons on June 4, 2013 - 7:57 pm

    Well done! The music really added a lot of value too.

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