Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to Name an Element After Yourself

Here on the SuperSmart Carbon blog, I will talk about the elements a lot because "Carbon" is an element.  SuperSmart Carbon is a blue guy with a green hat and in this blog, he looks like he is 1 1/2 inches high.  He has two rings around him with six yellow spheres.  Although cute, SuperSmart Carbon does not exactly look like elements in the real world.  Elements are really, really, small.  You cannot see them with the naked eye, or even with a microscope.  Although you can't see elements, they are all around you.  Everything is made up of elements: the computer you are reading this blog on, the table the computer sits on, the air you breath, your shirt, and even you!

Scientists have discovered 111 elements.  Some elements I am sure you already know like gold, silver, copper, and oxygen.  Helium is a fun element.  It is used in balloons to make them float.  If you inhale helium, you can make your voice funny.  Check out this video on YouTube of a Mythbusters sounding like Donald Duck after inhaling helium

The cool thing about being a scientist who discovers an element is that you get to name the element.  Scientists have named element number #98 Californium after the sunny state of California.  #94 is Plutonium named after the planet Pluto.  My favorite is element #99, Einsteinium, after the great scientist Albert Einstein. If you were to discover an element, you could name it after yourself.  Most scientists add "ium".  For example, my daughter could name an element "Jacquelinium". This is a great link to Theodore Gray's Illustrated Periodic Table where you can learn more about the naming of the elements.

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