I tried to create a Tamil version of the Mendeleev's Periodic table, with both original Tamil and transliterated Tamil names for elements as appropriate. I discovered the futility of this exercise, when I realised that none of the first twenty elements have any Tamil names. Upon reflection, I find only six elements, all metals Iron - இரும்பு, Copper - தாமிரம், Gold - பொன், Silver - வெள்ளி, Lead - ஈயம் and Tin - தகரம் have Tamil names. Did I miss any?
After a few minutes of thinking, I realized that this would be true of every language in the world; there would be at most ten elements with native names in any language. Most of the elements we are familiar with, like Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, Chlorine, Sodium, Potassium etc. were discovered in the last three hundred years, and given Latin names based on common salts or minerals or liquids or gases from which they were first discovered.
Physics and biology, with their instruments and elegant theories, and romantic tales of adventure and conflict and ingenious experiments, tend to capture our imagination. Chemistry, by comparison, is drab and remote, full of bottles and vapours - so practical, industrial, unimaginative.... pedestrian.
Totally false, of course, but I think that's the zeitgeist.
Primo Levi wrote an autobiography, based on it . Slate magazine had an excellent series of blogs on the periodic table. For starters, for those interested.