Oliver Sacks: I saw it soon after I had come back from this chaotic and really awful period in the country.  And the periodic table, with its arrangement of all the elements in a sort of beautiful vertical and horizontal way, seemed to me a wonderful    I mean, although I knew the periodic table was a human invention, I thought, “This is the way the elements organize themselves.  This is the way God thinks.  This is a cosmic order.” And the beauty of the table and the sense of it affected my greatly.  It corresponded with everything in chemistry.  Of course one didn’t know why the elements should have the characters they did or why they should be related.  Mendeleyev, who made the table, didn’t know, but I was sure that things would be confirmed later, as of course they were. But the periodic table stands for me for, as it were, the beauty of scientific truth and scientific construction, and also the beauty of the natural world and the way in which simplicity and number at least seem to command the physical world.