Elements on the BBC

I try not to focus my posts too much on other websites – it seems as if it is a bit of a cheat but over the last few months the BBC magazine (found on the BBC website) has been producing some excellent articles on various elements in the periodic table – you may have read some yourself.   However, what has not been so widely publicised it the fact that the written articles have accompanying downloadable podcasts of around 30 minutes ...

Stardust

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while may remember a few posts about twelve months ago that were linked in with a BBC TV series called 'Wonders of The Solar System'. It was hosted by professor Brian Cox. Well, the prof is back with a new four part series. Episode 2, Stardust aired Sunday evening in the UK. As ever, Professor Cox presents the show with a real laid back, graceful yet accessible approach. Episode 2 has some ...

The Island of Stability

Elements with an atomic number of 101 and greater are referred to as the Transfermium elements. They include elements such as Hassium (Hs), Darmstadtium (Ds) and Meitnerium (Mt). Elements 112 to 118 are referred to as the ‘Island of Stability’ as they are relatively more stable than the preceding elements. The island of stability is a term from nuclear physics that describes the possibility of elements with particularly stable "magic numbers" of protons and neutrons, peaking at element 114 (which would ...

Silicon (Si)

  Silicon - in the form Silicon Dioxide is essential to sponges - they use it to make their skeleton - but it also seems that it may be needed for humans as well.   Cereals are the main source of dietary intake. It is found in the connective tissue and skin and it is thought that it is necessary for bone growth. Its compounds are non toxic but man made compounds (magnesium silicate or asbestos) are carcinogenic. The idea from this short article was ...

Craving For Gold

By Friday, April 23, 2010 , 0

Out of all the elements, it could be argued man is most obsessed about Gold – from the Egyptians to the Romans to the Incans to the more modern day Europeans. What is this obsession all about? Well, it is quite simple, money, which leads to wealth, which leads to power. The irony is that gold is really the most useless of all elements. It really is useless – it is not used by man for anything other than decoration. It does not ...

Etienne de Clave

  Etienne de Clave - not exactly a household name but in 1624 this French chemist was arrested for heresy. Why? He stated that all things were made of two elements - water and earth ('mixts') that combined with three other substances, slat, sulfur and mercury ('principles'). His idea was considered heretical because it was out of line with the elements system proposed by the Greeks. So why was he arrested - well, it was all about the current parliament trying to preserve power ...

Making New Elements

  It's quite easy to make a new element. All you need is an incredibly high temperature and pressure and the right kind of fuel .....   Every person has Plutonium that is detectable in their body. Only two or three atoms - enough not to do any damage. Plutonium only becomes a problem if it is ingested in larger amounts. Plutonium was made through nuclear explosions in the 1950's.   Einsteinium and Fermium were also discovered in coral that had been covered in radioactive ...