“Elementally” Amazing Facts About the Periodic Table

Whether it is a gas, liquid, or solid; reactive or stable; naturally made or man made, the 118 building blocks each has its own chemically unique properties — and certain shared ones too! They react with each other in many different ways. You can even combine 2 elements that are dangerous on their own, to get a completely different substance that we use every day! (sodium + chlorine = sodium chloride which is table salt!)

Before I dive into the cool facts, there is some background info that you should be aware of. There are currently 90 naturally occurring elements discovered. So, if you do the math, humans have created 28. Go mankind! Those 118 elements are classified into 9 groups vertically on the periodic table. They are: non metals, alkali metals, alkaline metals, transition metals, rare earth elements, noble gases, metalloids, halogens, and other metals. Yeah, that’s a lot. The noble gases are on the right side of the table and they are stable. The alkali metals are on the left, and they are reactive. So, on average, as you move from left to right, the more stable an element gets and as you move from right to left, the more reactive an element gets. So, glass half empty, or half full? It just depends on how you look at it. We already know about the atomic number and how it gets bigger as you go from left to right and top to bottom (like reading a book), protons, neutrons, and electrons, and all that cool stuff I just taught you. So let’s dive into the fun facts! (I hope you learn something)

Bernard Courtois is best remembered for his discovery of one of the halogens. He made his discovery when he accidentally added to much sulfuric acid to a mixture he was creating to treat the unwanted sulfuric residue. He noticed a violet vapor was being produced, which when left to cool at room temperature, a solid metal of violet-grey color was observed. He had created Iodine! Let this be a lesson to you: ALWAYS wear goggles in case you add a little extra sulfuric acid and create a harmful substance, vapor, or cloud. Now don’t go adding extra in hopes you could make a new element. That’s just not smart. Moving on! Next, is Henri Becquerel, a chemist who was performing an experiment on some phosphorescent substances. As it happened, one of those phosphorescent crystals contained a radioactive substance that led him to the discovery of radioactivity and a new element: Uranium! Finally, we have Sydney Ringer, a pharmacologist. He found that when a pure sodium chloride solution was mixed with two other elements in aqueous form, the solution produced would prolong the heartbeat of a dead frog’s heart. These two elements are located next to each other of the periodic table of elements; Potassium and Calcium!

On to some more facts! Germanium’s existence was predicted by Mendeleyev before its discovery, and Aluminum is the most abundant metal in earths crust, but is rare in its pure form! This next fact I found pretty intersting (and I admit, kind of funny). In 2000, Stan Jones who was running for the US Senate, ingested silver as an antibiotic, which turned his skin permanently blue! Lesson learned. Don’t ingest silver. Next up we have Bromine. This element is a favorite of hot-tubbers because it has sanitizing properties similar to those of chlorine but it is not as smelly. Astatine, a solid, is considered to be the rarest element! It is estimated that the entire planet holds just one ounce of Astatine at any give time.

And finally, we have Tom Lehrer, who wrote a song on the elements. I found this song pretty catchy, just like the “Meet the Elements” song, but this one includes all the elements discovered at the time he wrote it! This video has a cool animation that someone made to go with it too. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGM-wSKFBpo

I also stumbled across this one too. It’s the element song again by Lehrer, however, this time it is sung by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1TfPDIA1xE

I hope by reading this blog, you learned something and that you leave this page with you head fuller than when you started. I know mine is! If you want to learn more, you can visit the sites I did. They were pretty interesting!

This one has facts on each element: http://www.periodictable.com

This one had a few on the accidental discovery of a few elements:

http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Look-What-I-Found—Accidental-Discoveries-312924.html


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