Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

Ich muss einen Blog schreiben…

So I’ve just returned from Germany, one of many lands of superior chocolate goodies… Oops – that’s not related.

Anyway, while I was riding the train across central Germany, and eating some food of some sort, I noticed that I was getting my daily dose of Natrium (that’s Sodium for us Americans, in case that isn’t clear…). It made me wonder how much easier it would be to learn the periodic table if the names actually matched the symbols. Unfortunately, since most of the original names appear to have Latin roots, it’s unlikely that any particular current language is using all of the ‘real’ names. (although please correct me if I’m wrong?!)

So, since changing the symbols seems unlikely, I suggest we revert to the original names of these crazy elements. Let’s call them Natrium and Wolfram, and Aurum, Argentum and Kalium. Ok, maybe not Kalium, as that sounds like something out of Superman.

Alternatively, we could make up new names entirely, like Nancy and William, Aurelius and Agamemnon… what do you guys think? Is Na by any other name still as reactive?

In any case, hope you like the food for thought.

Catherine (associate editor, Nature Chemical Biology)


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    Stuart said:

    Funny you should mention something sounding like it’s straight out of Superman. In this paper, Kr@C60 is indirectly referred to as ‘kryptonite’ – it’s buried in the paper and I bet they had to sneak that mention in after being told they couldn’t use that name…

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    Ψ*Ψ said:

    I plan to call sodium “Nancy” whenever I can get away with it now.

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    Joshua said:

    Excellent idea – I propose using ‘AlGorium’ when referring to Al (or ‘AlGorinium’ if you live in the UK…) Say goodbye to LAH: it’s Lithgow AlGorium Hydride now…