Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Quotable Asimov

While reading a recent used bookstore miracle discovery--The Intelligent Man's Guide to Science by --I came across this section and laughed out loud. I now realize that this may possibly mark one of the geekiest moments of my life, but I pass it on to you regardless:

The puzzle to which I have referred began in 1794, when a Finnish chemist, Johan Gadolin, examined an odd rock which had been found near the Swedish hamlet Ytterby and decided that it was a new "earth." Gadolin gave this "rare earth" the name "yttria," after Ytterby. Later the German chemist Martin Klaproth (the discoverer of uranium) found that yttria could be divided into two "earths," for one of which he kept the name yttria, while he named the other "ceria" (after the newly discovered planetoid Ceres). But the Swedish chemist Carl Gustav Mosander subsequently broke these down further into a series of different earths. All eventually proved to be oxides of new elements named the "rare-earth metals." By 1907, 14 such elements had been identified. In order of increasing atomic weight they are:
  • lanthanum (from a Greek word meaning "hidden")

  • cerium (from Ceres)

  • praseodymium (from the Greek for "green twin," after a green line in its spectrum)

  • neodymium ("new twin")

  • samarium (from "samarskite," the mineral in which it was found)

  • europium (from Europse)

  • gadolinium (in honor of Johan Gadolin)

  • terbium (from Ytterby)

  • dysprosium (from a Greek word meaning "hard to get at")

  • holmium (from Stockholm)

  • erbium (from Ytterby)

  • thulium (from Thule, an old name for Scandinavia)

  • ytterbium (from Ytterby)

  • lutetium (from Lutetia, an old name for Paris)


Notice a trend? Apparently even chemists can get bored with naming new elements after a while... As the author himself puts it in an aside later the same page:

(Yttrium, though found in the same ores as the rare earths and similar to them in properties, is not a rare-earth metal. It is, however, named after Ytterby. Four elements honor that hamlet--which is overdoing it.)

While we are on this most obscure of topics, it should be noted that there are not only two elements named after France--Francium and Gallium--there is also an element named after gay Paris, Lutetium.

There. I have now alienated or just weirded out anyone who might possibly look at this blog.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

10 Comments:

At 07 March, 2007 16:39, Blogger Jacob said...

This is an awkward way of communicating with you, and if it doen't work I'll send you an email, but I'm curious if you've made a decision yet?

 
At 01 May, 2007 01:19, Blogger Chris said...

Actually... I found it to have the opposite effect and wasn't weirded out at all. But then again, I'm kind of a total geek...

(Stumbled in from google btw, found an old, old post while searching for something completely different.)

 
At 16 June, 2007 12:11, Blogger Blake Stacey said...

Ah, elemental etymologies — where word-nuttery and science-geekery collide!

Only two stable elements are named after people. Gadolinium is easy (Gadolin, of course), but samarium also counts, because its name derives from the ore samarskite, named itself for some Russian mining engineer named Samarski.

 
At 23 June, 2007 16:58, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oliver Sacks was doing an author tour for 'Uncle Tungsten', and talked of his joy at visiting Ytterby, and obtaining a piece of ore from there. The excitement was contagious, my daughter and I would eb happy to obtain some as well.

 
At 29 November, 2011 09:49, Blogger identyery55 said...

seo services vancouver



I really this structure, The architectural design is impressive, thanks for the good insight here,

 
At 20 October, 2015 20:55, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.21
ugg boots clearance, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet, air max, louis vuitton, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, cheap oakley sunglasses, chanel handbags, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, nike shoes, christian louboutin, longchamp handbags, prada handbags, jordan shoes, michael kors outlet online sale, longchamp outlet, uggs outlet, louboutin shoes, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet, ray ban sunglasses, tiffany and co, rolex watches, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton outlet stores, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, replica watches, louboutin, uggs, oakley sunglasses cheap, cheap uggs, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, ugg outlet, tiffany and co, longchamp handbags, ray ban sunglasses, tory burch outlet, nike free, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton handbags, louboutin outlet

 
At 20 October, 2015 20:57, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

polo ralph lauren, oakley pas cher, nike roshe, vanessa bruno, lululemon outlet online, nike free pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, louboutin, nike tn, nike free, true religion outlet, longchamp, sac guess, air max pas cher, true religion outlet, coach factory outlet, hollister, nike blazer, new balance pas cher, sac longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, kate spade handbags, timberland, air max, mulberry, coach outlet store online, true religion jeans, ralph lauren, north face, coach purses, vans pas cher, ray ban pas cher, nike air force, michael kors, michael kors outlet, polo lacoste, air max, nike roshe run pas cher, sac hermes, converse pas cher, michael kors uk, north face, ray ban sunglasses, hollister, michael kors pas cher, nike air max, true religion jeans, hogan outlet, air jordan, sac burberry

 
At 20 October, 2015 20:58, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike trainers, baseball bats, valentino shoes, vans shoes, north face outlet, celine handbags, louboutin, oakley, asics running shoes, wedding dresses, babyliss pro, abercrombie, giuseppe zanotti, hollister, timberland boots, new balance shoes, vans, air max, mcm handbags, lululemon outlet, air max, jimmy choo outlet, instyler, reebok outlet, gucci, p90x, bottega veneta, soccer jerseys, birkin bag, north face jackets, nfl jerseys, ghd, insanity workout, nike roshe run, ray ban, mont blanc, converse shoes, abercrombie and fitch, soccer shoes, converse, nike huaraches, iphone cases, herve leger, mac cosmetics, beats by dre, longchamp, chi flat iron, hollister clothing store, ralph lauren, ferragamo shoes, burberry outlet, air max

 
At 20 October, 2015 21:00, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

canada goose uk, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose, sac louis vuitton, karen millen, moncler, canada goose outlet, moncler, ugg, ugg boots, links of london, wedding dresses, pandora charms, swarovski, louis vuitton uk, marc jacobs, sac lancel, toms shoes, thomas sabo, moncler, canada goose, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, barbour, rolex watches, pandora charms, doke gabbana, montre homme, pandora jewelry, moncler, swarovski crystal, canada goose, pandora jewelry, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet store online, michael kors outlet, sac louis vuitton, ugg, michael kors handbags, moncler outlet, ugg, canada goose jackets, barbour, moncler, canada goose, supra shoes, juicy couture, ugg pas cher, moncler, louis vuitton, moncler
ninest123 10.21

 
At 26 July, 2017 03:17, Blogger happy 123 said...

golden goose sneakers
kobe shoes
nike huarache
nike air force
kobe 9
adidas yeezy boost
lebron 13 shoes
fitflops clearance
lacoste outlet
hermes belt

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Send Haloscan trackback ping

<< Home

Academics Blog Top Sites