In virtually every chemistry classroom on the planet, there is a chart known as the periodic table of elements. At first glance, it looks like a mere series of boxes, with letters and numbers in them, arranged according to some kind of code not immediately clear to the observer. The boxes would form a rectangle, 18 across and 7 deep, but there are gaps in the rectangle, particularly along the top. To further complicate matters, two rows of boxes are shown along the bottom, separated from one another and from the rest of the table. Even when one begins to appreciate all the information contained in these boxes, the periodic table might appear to be a mere chart, rather than what it really is: one of the most sophisticated and usable means ever designed for representing complex interactions between the building blocks of matter.