William Ramsey

On Wednesday 2nd October you may have seen the Google doodle with Sir William Ramsey (it was published to celebrate his 167th birthday): Image credit / copyright Google.com – if there is a problem post this image, please let me know and I will remove it. You may also have inferred from the doodle that William Ramsey had something to do with the noble gases (group 18)… more on this later. William Ramsey was Scottish and was born in Glasgow on the 2nd ...

Goodbye to party ballons?

The following article caught my eye a few weeks ago: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19676639 It deals with the call of an eminent scientist who is asking for the sale of Helium balloons to be banned as there is a shortage of the gas for instruments such as MRI scanners. What I found particularly interesting is that Helium is mined - it is obtained as a by product from the extraction of natural gas. I had always pictured it being extracted from the air but (I guess) the ...

The Lazy Gas (2)

So, what was that lazy gas? And the answer is ..... ....... Argon. Why Argon? The Greek word 'Argos' means lazy and it was this word that gave rise to Argon. Argon is a noble gas - it doesn't react with anything (we all know that). It was 'discovered' by default. It was the remaining 1% of air that did not do anything (ie, did not react with anything) - so it was thought of as being lazy - and the name stuck!