Fill in the blanks

150 years ago, the periodic table of the elements was published.

It’s a truly stunning achievement because it predates the electron microscope. It’s a bit like labeling all the colors in a box of crayons in a world with nothing but very dim light.

Once the structure of the table was understood, its creator Dmitri Mendeleyev had a problem. Some of the elements that needed to be on it hadn’t been discovered yet. He knew that something needed to fill a slot, but he wasn’t exactly sure what.

And so he left the square blank.

Which inspired other scientists to go looking for what was needed to fill in that empty slot.

Much of the innovation of the internet has worked this way. As well as developments in urban planning, civil society and small business as well.

Once you see the grid, you can see the empty boxes. And then go fill them.

HT Paul.