Gold – Au

By Monday, December 28, 2015 , , 0

Christmas is coming and if, as a chemist, I had to select an element that reminds me most of this holiday I would select Gold. Why Gold? Well, the three wise men bought the baby Jesus gifts of Gold (as well as Frankincense and Myrrh). And that is my (weak) link in to this month’s article on the element Gold (!) Out of all the elements, Gold is perhaps the one that we are most aware of. It is so unreactive that ...

Bronze

Following on from last months Olympic frenzy and like a good Chemist I felt I couldn't leave my Olympic postings on Silver and Gold by themselves. I needed to finish the mini series... So here is it - Bronze. Incidentally, in the Chemistry Olympiad (a competition organised by the RSC or Royal Society of Chemistry), third prize is Copper and not Bronze ..... but that is for another debate! Bronze has a whole ear of human history named after it - the bronze ...

Gold

If you have been living on Mars for the last week or so you may not have realised that the 30th Olympics have started in London. For everybody else I am sure that you were aware of this fact. I have been swept along by the excitement gripping the UK and the nations obsession with getting a gold medal. We have none yet but are hopefully by the close of play today we will have achieved two golds - fingers ...

Gold wonder drugs

Tumours need a blood supply to grow and so it make sense to hypothesise that if the growth of blood vessels in tumors could be stopped, the tumour would effectively die. Enter a group of antibodeis that can be used to  destroy the protein (vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF) that tells the blood vessels to divide. The problem? The antibodies have serious side effects on the body. The solution? Gold nanoparticles, approx 5nm wide that seem seem to have blocked VEGF's ability ...

Gold Finger(print)

Gold forgers. A strange breed. These people do not pretend to have gold that is indeed another substance - that would be too easy to detect (how?) Instead, they have gold that they claim to be from a different age or source than it actually is. By PHGCOM (Own work by uploader, Toi Mine) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsIt is sometime referred to as antique gold, gold from say the Californian gold rush. Ingots of ...

Alchemy

Alchemy.  It is thought that the ideas behind alchemy started as early as 300 AD and lasted right up until around the 12th century AD. The idea behind alchemy was to turn base metals into gold (trans-mutate the base metals) and although it was not good chemistry, some of the methods and techniques used were ultimately used at a later date in 'real' chemistry. Image kindly reproduced according to the licence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Fettes_Douglas_-_The_Alchemist.jpg The alchemists had a major problem though - they could not turn ...

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 ...

The Earliest Periodic Table?

Around 1400BC in Anatolia (essentially Turkey), Iron was extracted. This became the seventh metal to be discovered. The metals were grouped as follows, with the idea that metals matured in the earth, beginning with dull lead and ending with shiny gold. It was the start of alchemy.... The seven metals became linked with the seven days of the week: Metal Planet Day Gold Sun Sunday Silver Moon Monday Mercury Mercury Tuesday Copper Venus Wednesday Iron Mars Thursday Tin Jupiter Friday Lead Saturn Saturday The ideas behind this article were taken from ‘The Elements’ by Philip Ball ISBN 0-19-284099-1