That's how they got the order of them, but not the shape of the grid. The first row, Hydogen and Helium has one shell of either one or two electrons. A shell is like a planetary orbit except that it has not set plane, the lectrons just wander around at that distance.
Originally Posted by Fazor
The second row has two shells. The first has two electrons, and the second has 1 to 8, depending on the element. Each row gets a new shell, and in most cases, each of the inner shells must be full.
Most atoms like to have a full outer shell, so they combine with other atoms to do just that. Oxygen has 6 electrons on the outer shell, so it can either loose 6 or gain 2. Hydrogen as one, so wants to either gain OR lose one. When two hydrogen meet one oxygen, the electrons from the outer shells of all three atoms are shared to give the illusion of three atoms will full outer shells.
This "willingness" to lose or gain electrons puts them on either the left or the right side of the table depending on the preference. the ones that prefer to lose go tot he left, and the onse that prefer to gain go to the right. This is why there is a gap on the second row as opposed to even spacing like battlements on a castle wall.
At lest that's how I seem to recall understanding it. (see below for corrections)
As for why gold is where it is, on the off chance I ever did know, it's long gone.
I'm Not Evil.
An evil person would do the things that pop into my head.