The Sceptical Chymist | In your element round up

Published in Chemistry

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Our ‘in your element’ feature is still alive and well, the articles are still freely available online, and the periodic table here is still being updated. Over the last few months a few more squares in that periodic table have been filled in with contributions from several authors.

In February, Anders Lenartsson from Chalmers University of Science and Technology argued that there are many reasons to disagree with one of his former professors, who said that “you’ll never impress me with zinc”.

Neatly continuing on the short-lived and entirely unintentional theme of ‘elements beginning with Z’, in March, John Emsley explained that zirconium has more wide-ranging applications than the use of its silicate, cubic zirconia, in fake gemstones.

In the April issue, Claude Piguet from the University of Geneva illuminated the convoluted history of erbium, and told us how it has carved out a niche for itself in photonics.

In the May issue, which came online a few days ago, Eric Ansoborlo from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission shared some interesting nuggets on polonium, including a health warning for smokers: polonium is not only extremely radiotoxic, but the small amounts that are found in nature are also known to accumulate in tobacco plants.

The articles themselves do not come with any such health warnings though, so do take a look at what other fascinating facts are contained within!

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