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The first element to be identified one atom at a time was named after the main architect of the modern periodic table. This seemingly straightforward etymological choice illustrates how scientific recognition can eclipse geopolitical tensions, says Anne Pichon.
Lanthanum is the first lanthanide — or the last. Or it’s not a lanthanide at all. In any case, Brett Thornton and Shawn Burdette are sure that it’s an element that might or might not be in group three of the periodic table.
Shawn C. Burdette and Brett F. Thornton examine hafnium’s emergence from ores containing a seemingly identical element to become both a chemical oddity and an essential material for producing nuclear energy.
Scientists take nomenclature seriously, but tritium was named in a casual aside. Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette discuss the heavy, radioactive hydrogen isotope that is available for purchase online.
Shawn C. Burdette and Brett F. Thornton explore how germanium developed from a missing element in Mendeleev's periodic table to an enabler for the information age, while retaining a nomenclature oddity.
The first new element produced after the Second World War has led a rather peaceful life since entering the period table — until it became the target of those producing superheavy elements, as Andreas Trabesinger describes.
Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette relate how element 100 was first identified in a nuclear weapons test, but that was classified information, so researchers had to 'discover' it again using other methods.
Tin has been ubiquitous throughout the course of human history, from Bronze Age tools to lithium-ion battery components, yet Michael A. Tarselli warns it should not be deemed pedestrian. Its tendency to linger in human tissues presents a dangerous side that steers researchers towards greener chemistries.
Made under a cloak of wartime secrecy, yet announced in the most public of ways — a radioactive element that governments insist we take into our homes. Ben Still explains how element 95 is one of real contradiction.
From grand challenges of nineteenth century chemistry to powerful technology in small packages, Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette explain why neodymium is the twin element discovered twice by two Carls.