# Why aren't Boron and Aluminium assigned to group 3 of periodic table? What determines the group? [closed]

I've been curious about this 3D representation of the periodic table "Mendeleev's Flower" and was trying to study it, wondering if it reveals any regularities that are not obvious from classic periodic table.

But since it's hard to look at a 3D table on a flat computer screen, I found flat equivalents.

Theodor Benfey's periodic table (1964):

J. F. Hyde's periodic table (1975):

There I found a discrepancy: Hyde assigned Boron and Aluminium to group 3 (IIIA), whereas everywhere else B and Al are in the group 13 (IIIB).

I can totally see why Hyde split the table like this (apart from being obsessed with Silicon): such a split creates an absolutely stunning symmetry.

You can see this symmetry on the Hyde's table with colors and dashed lines that cross Silicon and connect related elements.

This can't be just a stretch/exaggeration/far-fetching/"squeezing the universe to fit into an appealing model, even though the universe resists". It's just too good!

Well, to be honest, he did do some universe-squeezing: B and Al have electron configuration of s²p¹ — just like other elements of group 13 (IIIB), whereas elements of group 3 (IIIA) have electron configuration of d¹s². Since Al and B appear in the d¹s² column, Hyde had to make a note inside B and Al cells that they actually are s²p¹.

But the symmetry is just too good. It reveals stunning periodicity that no other periodic table is capable of.

And then I remembered this short-form periodic table:

Russian Wikipedia says the short form was banned by IUPAC in 1989 for some reason, but it's still used in Russian schools because it makes figuring out valence values easier.

And this table does not have the split. Boron and Aluminium appear in the same column regardless of whether you assign them to 3 (IIIA) or 13 (IIIB). I think this is absolutely beautiful.

I believe this Al/B positioning thing has scientific significance, but I don't understand the meaning of the groups.

My questions:

1. What does the group actually mean? Is it simply the electron configuration and nothing else?
2. What determines Al and B being placed in group 3 (IIIA) and not 13 (IIIB), other than the electron configuration?
3. Why is the short-form periodic table considered obsolete, even though it clearly has something going on that the full-form table is not revealing?
4. Is the Hyde's table missing any periodical properties that the classic table has?
• By "short form" you mean the old system with roman numerals and main groups and side groups, right? I think they decided to have a uniform nomenclature, and then basically flipped a coin. ;) Btw. I agree that for highschool chemistry (9th grade or so), the old system is better.
– Karl
Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 20:35
• My knowledge of Russian is too rusty to identifty on the Russian wiki a reason why the short form was banned. On meta-synthesis.com/webbook/35_pt/…, entry 1994, however is one form suggested by Fathi Habashi including a link to his argumentation in J. Chem. Educ. To quote from his conclusion to put Al just next to Mg to the left, and B to the right: «Boron is a metalloid with a high melting point, aluminium is a typical metal with low melting point, gallium, indium, and thallium are less typical metals.» Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 20:41
• @Karl «The element´s abbreviations in your table are using Latin letters, while the rest is Kyrillic. Is that standard usage in Russian language?» — Yes, Russian chemistry uses latin abbreviations. Every Russian knows what C2H5OH stands for. 😃 Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 21:32
• One answer could be that chemists don´t care much about the periodic system. It is awesome when you are a beginner, starting to get get a feeling, when everything starts making sense, and then new things just fall into place. Goodness, I loved it.But later on, you find that there are a lot of exceptions in those beautiful trends, and then you specialise on some corner of the chemistry universe, and the periodic system becomes one of the poster on your office wall. ;)
– Karl
Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 21:50
• @Karl «It is the same with units and symbols for physical quantities, right?» — Nope, units and multipliers are localized in Russian. E. g. a gigapascal is ГПа. Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 23:13