Monday, March 29, 2010

Memorizing Electron Configuration subshells

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f14 5d10 6p6 7s2 5f14 6d10 7p6

Using Mnemonic's Phonetic System (which is posted below) we're going to memorize this alphanumeric series using what mnemonics calls a Link, which is a series of visual images creatively Linked together.

We're fortunate with this series because "s" is always followed by a 2, "p" is always followed by a 6, "d" is always followed by a 10 and "f" is always followed by a 14. So we have s2, p6, d10, f14. [If you've read my first Memory Story about the Periodic Table you'll remember this as being "Sunny Peach Dates Father" or the favorite dessert of the men at Men Don't Leave Prison.]

Because the numbers are always the same following s, p, d, f, we can eliminate the last numbers. What we want to memorize is: 1s 2s 2p 3s 3p 4s 3d 4p 5s 4d 5p 6s 4f 5d 6p 7s 5f 6d 7p.

Now we convert using the Phonetic System: 1s (toes), 2s (nose), 2p (knapsack), 3s (mouse), 3p (mop), 4s (rose), 3d (mud), 4p (rope), 5s (lasso), 4d (road), 5p (lip), 6s (cheese), 4f (roof), 5d (lead), 6p (jeep), 7s (gas), 5f (leaf), 6d (shed), 7p (cop).

Memory Links need to be bizarre creations in order to make them as visually memorable as possible. This can sometimes make them a bit nightmarish like the one that follows. First we need to start with a base to start our Link from so you're in Chemistry Class surrounded by shells of electrons. Suddenly your toes burst out of your shoes and on top of your toes is this ugly nose that keeps getting bigger and bigger. The nose grows to at least six feet tall and inside of one nostril is a knap (sack). Curious you yank the knap (sack) out and this huge mouse covered with, well you know, comes out with it. The mouse runs over to the corner and grabs a mop and makes threatening motions towards you when the mop mysteriously turns into a rose. You approach him but undaunted the mouse rubs your face in the rose which turns out to be filled with mud. You grab a rope, that just so happens to be lying there, and rub the mud off your face with it. You turn the rope into a lasso and go outside and being in a Tall Tales mood lasso the road outside of your Chemistry class. You decide you're going to ride the road when it turns into one giant long black asphalt lip the moment you get on. The lip begins to spit up a flood of cheese until you're drowning in cheese but you manage to make it to a roof. On the roof a rain of lead pellets begins to fall until the torrent magically turns into a lead jeep. You get in the jeep but it won't start so you go back and fill it up with gas from a gas can. When you hit the gas you fly off the roof onto a giant leaf that breaks your fall but you can't stop and go flying into a shed. Unfortunately there's a cop there to give you a ticket.



Mnemonic's Phonetic System

  • One is the phonetic sounds "t or d". Made memorable by t or d only having one foot.
  • Two is the phonetic sound "n". Made memorable by n having two feet.
  • Three is the phonetic sound "m". Made memorable by m having three feet.
  • Four is the phonetic sound "r". Made memorable by four's phonetic "r".
  • Five is the phonetic sound "l". Made memorable by holding up your outstretched left hand and the L being created with the thumb and forefinger.
  • Six is the phonetic sounds "sh, ch, soft j or soft g". Made memorable by J and G "kind of" looking like a six.
  • Seven is the phonetic sounds "k, hard g, or hard c". Made memorable by two sevens being used to create a printed K.
  • Eight is the phonetic sounds "f or v". Made memorable because a handwritten "f" looks like an eight.
  • Nine is the phonetic sounds "p or b". Made memorable because p or b look like a nine.
  • Zero is the phonetic sounds "z or s". Made memorable because zero starts with the letter z.

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