The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Jesus is for geologists (and other scientists)

I’ve always known that Jesus is for geologists, as well as for biologists, chemists, physicists, archeologists, astronomers, and all other sorts of scientists.

There are, of course, many Christians who are scientists, and many scientists who are Christians. As a graduate student in geology, I found rich fellowship with a half dozen Christian geologists-in-training, and there was a Christian on the faculty of the department as well.

Davis Young, a Christian geology professor (retired), and author of The Bible, Rocks and Time, Christianity and the Age of the Earth, and Mind over Magma: the Story of Igneous Petrology, has written what he considers to be his most important book: Good News for Science: Why Scientific Minds Need God.

The summary on Barnes & Noble reads:

Bridging the fields of natural science and religion, Good News for Science: Why Scientific Minds Need God invites members of the professional scientific community, graduate, undergraduate, and high school science students, science teachers, and members of the general public who are interested in the natural sciences to embrace the Christian faith personally. Employing the theme of good news, this book challenges readers to ponder the question of life after death as a gateway to the overall claim that Christianity, at its best and most consistent, bears good news for both science and the scientist. On the one hand, Christianity, far from being antithetical to science, supplies the rational foundation that makes the scientific enterprise possible. On the other hand, the central message of Christianity brings a firm hope to scientists as individual persons in meeting their deepest needs and desires for genuine significance, purpose, goodness, forgiveness, justice, and relationship with the Creator. In presenting his case, the author eschews pseudo-science and treats with great respect the discoveries of contemporary mainstream natural science, including an ancient universe and Earth, biological evolution, and the standard model of cosmology. The text adopts an informal, personal, conversational style. Good News for Science will be of interest not only to the general scientific community but also to Christians who are seeking a resource to use in presenting Christian faith to scientifically knowledgeable individuals.

As the review says, this would be a great book for

  • Professional scientists
  • Students of science, at either the undergraduate or graduate levels
  • High school teachers and students
  • Members of the general public.

Buy this book at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Grace and Peace

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Age of the Earth, Apologetics, Archeology, Astrobiology, Astronomy, Atheism, Biology, Chemistry, Christianity, Evolution, Geology, Origins, Physics, Science Education, Theistic evolution | , , , | 2 Comments

Arsenic in DNA – maybe

Figure 1 -- Phosphorus and arsenic on the periodic table.

News of surprising biochemistry: Thriving on Arsenic (NASA Astrobiology Magazine)

NASA microbiologist Felisa Wolfe-Simon has discovered bacteria that apparently can use arsenic in its DNA in place of phosphorus. Most biochemistry can be done with six elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur (CHONPS). Smaller amounts of a variety of other elements are also necessary to varying degrees depending on the organism, such as sodium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Arsenic is similar enough to phosphorus (same column in the periodic table, Figure 1) that within these bacteria it may be able to play the same role.

From the Astrobiology Magazine article:

The recent discovery by Felisa Wolfe-Simon of an organism that can utilize arsenic in place of phosphorus, however, has demonstrated that life is still capable of surprising us in fundamental ways. The results of her research were published December 2 on Science Express and subsequently in the journal Science.

The organism in question is a bacterium, GFAJ-1, cultured by Wolfe-Simon from sediments she and her colleagues collected along the shore of Mono Lake, California. Mono Lake is hypersaline and highly alkaline. It also has one of the highest natural concentrations of arsenic in the world.

On the tree of life, according to the results of 16S rRNA sequencing, the rod-shaped GFAJ-1 nestles in among other salt-loving bacteria in the genus Halomonas. Many of these bacteria are known to be able to tolerate high levels of arsenic.

But Wolfe-Simon found that GFAJ-1 can go a step further. When starved of phosphorus, it can instead incorporate arsenic into its DNA, and continue growing as though nothing remarkable had happened.

“So far we’ve showed that it can do it in DNA, but it looks like it can do it in a whole lot of other biomolecules” as well, says Wolfe-Simon, a NASA research fellow in residence at the USGS in Menlo Park, California.

The article describes the methods used to purify the DNA, to ensure that the arsenic was truly incorporated into the structure of the DNA rather that being associated with other molecules. Not all, however, are convinced.

But Steven Benner, a distinguished fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, FL, remains skeptical. If you “replace all the phosphates by arsenates,” in the backbone of DNA, he says, “every bond in that chain is going to hydrolyze [react with water and fall apart] with a half-life on the order of minutes, say 10 minutes.” So “if there is an arsenate equivalent of DNA in that bug, it has to be seriously stabilized” by some as-yet-unknown mechanism.

Benner suggests that perhaps the trace contaminants in the growth medium Wolf-Simon uses in her lab cultures are sufficient to supply the phosphorus needed for the cells’ DNA. He thinks it’s more likely that arsenic is being used elsewhere in the cells, in lipids for example. “Arsenate in lipids would be stable,” he says, and would “not fall apart in water.” What appears in Wolfe-Simon’s gel-purified extraction to be arsenate DNA, he says, may actually be DNA containing a standard phosphate-based backbone, but with arsenate associated with it in some unidentified way.

Microbiologists over the past few decades have discovered bacteria and archaea in increasingly hostile places, such as hot springs and deep in Earth’s crust. This has spurred on the hope that other worlds (e.g. Mars, Titan) also have places that would be suitable for bacterial life. The possibility of bacteria that can live with a chemical foundation other than CHONPS indicates that life might thrive in places where we otherwise would not have expected it to.

This discovery may not completely redefine life as we know it, but it does (if proven to be true) add one more bizarre thing that life can do.

Grace and Peace

December 2, 2010 Posted by | Astrobiology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Nature | | 7 Comments

The Chemistry Song

My daughter did the “burn the nut” experiment in her high school chemistry class yesterday. In this experiment, the nut is set up under a calorimeter (which could be as simple as a glass beaker with a thermometer, though other setups work better), the nut is burned, the water warms up, and the student calculates the amount of heat released in the combustion reaction.

She told me about this, and I burst into song, just like I did when I was a chemistry teacher. Here is the song:

(Tune:  The Christmas Song)
words by Kevin Nelstead, Bucharest Christian Academy

Chestnuts roasting with an open fire,
With a calorimeter.
Chemis-tree carols being sung by a choir,
And students dressed up with safety goggles.
Everybody knows the specific heat of H2O
Is one calorie per gram degree Celsius.
And though its been said, many times, many ways

I’ll write on the topic of Chemis-tree carols some other time.

Grace and Peace

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | Leave a comment

Happy mole day!

In honor of Avogadro’s number (6.02 x1023), today is mole day. According to some who celebrate this day, celebrations can actually begin at 6:02 on 10/23.

National Mole Day Foundation

Mole Day Jokes — there are some new ones here I had not seen before.

Grace and Peace

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | | Leave a comment

Science without experiments?

From Times Online: School lab health and safety rules ‘could stop future scientists’:

It is a scientific fact, tested and proven by generations of pupils, that experiments in school laboratories win young people to the cause of science. White coats, goggles and the chance to set fire to things foster a passion for chemistry that even years of examinations do not extinguish.

But government advisers and eminent scientists are warning of a disturbing development that could endanger generations of future scientists: pupils are no longer allowed to experiment.

Health and safety concerns are preventing students — including those taking A levels — from performing vital and exciting investigations into what happens when one sets fire to magnesium ribbon, or drops a small glob of sodium into a dish of water.


The comments follow an Ofsted report warning that the national curriculum and testing regime led to boring science lessons. Schools spent too much time drilling students for tests, it said.

Jane Lees, head of Hindley High School in Wigan, and a former head of science, agreed that health and safety had put an end to a number of “whiz-bang” experiments. “But we’re moving on to different ways of teaching science — with videos, and on the web with virtual learning environments which are quite as interesting. It’s a different way of learning but it should still be able to turn them on. What you need is inspirational teachers.”


Experiments at risk

Ammonium dichromate volcano Make a pile of ammonium dichromate and set the tip alight using a magnesium fuse. The result is a tiny volcano, complete with ash, steam and nitrogen gas

The thermite reaction Mix metal powder with metal-oxide to create thermite and set it alight. The mix will burn at an exceptionally high temperature

Potassium in water The classic school experiment. Drop potassium into water and it reacts violently, making hydrogen, which then ignites in a small fireball

Safety is very important, but these demonstrations can be done safely with the proper training and setup.

I still remember demonstrations from middle school physical science and high school chemistry (a long long time ago), such as sodium in water, and (gasp) actually handling mercury (do students today ever even see mercury?).

Grace and Peace

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Science Education | 2 Comments

Religious belief among scientists

Here are some results of a PEW Research Center study on the religious and political beliefs of scientists:

Statistic #1
42% — Scientists ages 18-34 who say they believe in God.
28% — Scientists 65 and older who say this.

What does this mean? Does it mean that an increasing number of scientists believe in God? Or does it mean that young scientists give up their faith as they grow older? Unfortunately, this study is just a snapshot in time. It would be helpful to see the results of similar surveys done over time, or the results of studies that follow the same scientists throughout their careers.

Statistic #2
3% — Percentage of scientists who are “white evangelicals”.
19% — Percentage of Americans who are “white evangelicals”.

What does this mean? Either we evangelicals are doing a pitiful job of preparing and motivating our young people to enter the sciences, or they fall away from faith once they do enter the sciences. I place part of the blame for both of these possibilities on the dominance of young-Earth creationism in our Christian educational system, whether in our private schools, home schools, or churches. Students are either scared away from the sciences because of the perceived warfare between science and faith, or they are ill-equipped to see God’s world as it is, especially in terms of Earth history. There are likely to be a number of other factors as well.

Statistic #3
Field Believe in God
Believe in higher power
Believe in neither
Biology and medicine 32 19 41
Chemistry 41 14 39
Geosciences 30 20 47
Physics and astronomy 29 14 46

There is not as much of a difference between the different fields of science as I had been led to believe by some other studies. I had thought that astronomers were more likely to believe in God or some sort of a higher power than other scientists, but according to this study this isn’t the case.

In the geosciences, 47% of scientists are in the “believe in neither” category: atheists and agnostics. But at 30%, we theists are not all that far behind, and I find this encouraging.

One more item from the study that I found interesting, though it related to politics rather than religious beliefs:

Statistic #4 — Party affiliation among scientists

All scientists 6 55 32

Some questions:

  • Is there a trend towards increasing faith among scientists, as indicated by statistic #1, or will these young scientists lose faith as they grow older?
  • Why are only 3% of scientists evangelical Christians? What can we evangelicals do about it?
  • Is there any significance to the differences between the various fields of science? Are chemists most likely to believe in God because their science doesn’t have as direct of a relationship to the issue of origins?
  • Why do only 6% of scientists identify themselves as Republican? What can be done about it?

HT: Christianity Today

Grace and Peace

August 18, 2009 Posted by | Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Christianity, Ethics, Geology, Physics | 2 Comments

CRC periodic table, 1924

One more periodic table: from the 1924 CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, which one of my ancestors picked up somewhere.


This periodic table has 79 elements, as opposed to the 117 on the current periodic table, 90 of which are naturally-occurring.

The familiar modern layout of the periodic table (as on my previous post) was developed by Glenn Seaborg in the 1940s as the trans-uranium elements were being created.

Grace and Peace

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry | | 1 Comment

PDF periodic table

Here is a PDF of the periodic table I used when I taught chemistry at Bucharest Christian Academy, updated to include copernicium (element 112, Cp). Feel free to copy and distribute this table.

The GeoChristian Periodic Table of the Elements

Here’s what it looks like:


July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry, Science Education | , | Leave a comment

Element 112 — Copernicium


Copernicium (Cp) is found beneath mercury (Hg) on the periodic table

Element 112, a few atoms of which were created in Germany in 1996, finally has an official name. The new name is copernicium (symbol Cp), in honor of astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543). “Copernicium” replaces the temporary name ununbium (un=one, un=one, bi=two for 112, symbol Uub) that element 112 has had since it was created.

It is appropriate to refer to such elements as being created rather than discovered, as they do not exist in nature. The copernicium atoms where created by smashing zinc and lead nuclei together at high speeds. The copernicium-227 atoms created by this reaction decayed by alpha decay with a half life of about 240 microseconds.

I can see chemistry students confusing the symbols for Cu (copper) and Cp (copernicium).

Grace and Peace

WebElements — The most popular periodic table on the internet.

Wikipedia Ununbium

BBC News — New element named ‘copernicium’

July 19, 2009 Posted by | Chemistry | , | Leave a comment

The Inner Life of the Cell — The Extended Version

This item was originally posted in September, 2006. It is now part of my blog recycling program. Because I have new readers of The GeoChristian, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my favorite blog entries. There is a version of this video on YouTube that I don’t think was available last year. The EXTENDED VERSION, with a technical description of what is going on, is absolutely amazing to watch.

The Inner Life of the Cell is a computer animation of the inner workings of a white blood cell. Absolutely amazingboth in terms of the animation, and the processes it portrays. It is a testimony to the wisdom and power of the Creator.

I got this link from my biochemist friend Glenn at Be Bold, Be Gentle.

Image from the movie “The Inner Life of the Cell.”

The movie is also on YouTube.

Grace and Peace

September 21, 2007 Posted by | Biology, Blog Recycling, Chemistry | Leave a comment

Atoms in motion

Here’s a nice, simple graphic showing the motion of particles in a gas. Some are moving faster, some slower; the average velocity is a function of the temperature.

Here’s the caption from the Wikipedia article on temperature:

The temperature of a gas is a measure of the average kinetic energy of its atoms or molecules as they move and collide. Here in this animation, the size of helium atoms relative to their spacing is shown to scale under 136 atmospheres of pressure. These room-temperature atoms have a certain, average speed (slowed down here two trillion fold).

I like the graphic because it is simple, yet it clearly communicates the concepts of transfer of kinetic energy from one particle to another, and average speed.

Grace and Peace

May 14, 2007 Posted by | Chemistry | Leave a comment

Simple Cells?

This item was originally posted in March, 2006. It is now part of my blog recycling program. Because I have more people reading The GeoChristian now than I did a year ago, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my best blog entries.

Having read a number of technical books and papers on the topic of the origin of life, I believe that there is more here than a “god of the gap” kind of argument. Experiments have shown that conditions may have been present on the early Earth for the formation of a few basic building blocks for life in the primeval oceans, such as amino acids. But the complexity required for a metabolizing, reproducing cell to develop is an enormous leap beyond this. We can argue against the naturalistic origin of life not because of our ignorance–this is the idea of invoking the “god of the gaps”–but because of our knowledge of just how improbable this occurrence would be.

Prominently displayed in the back of my science classroom at Bucharest Christian Academy is an oversized poster showing biochemical pathwaysthe enzyme-mediated processes that occur in all cells, in organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. The poster presents an incredible amount of information, outlining processes such as electron transport in the mitochondria (in eukaryotes), and the synthesis and degradation of amino acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleotides. The poster is a little overwhelming to my middle school and high school students, but that is part of my purpose for having it. Even the most simple living cells are incredible machines, and I want them to have a glimpse of what that means.

For the web site of the week, I have chosen a similar metabolic pathways poster from the ExPASy Proteomics Server. By clicking on individual tiles on the poster, you can zoom in to see details of various processes, with the names of the enzymes that control molecular transformations in blue.


From discussions with biochemists, my understanding is that the simplest cell that could perform the basic functions of life (such as respiration, digestion, reproductionprocesses that define life) could do without some of the processes diagrammed on this poster. However, this primitive cell would still have to include about 60% of the processes depicted on these types of posters. This defines the magnitude of what needs to be explained in any naturalistic explanation for the origin of life.

Grace and Peace

I did find one article (I’m sure there are many) on the internet that puts a lower limit on the number of proteins in the most primitive cell at 300. Note that on the metabolic processes poster I have here, only the blue names, the enzymes, are proteins. The other substances are all substances that are produced or modified by those enzymes.

My biochemist friend Glenn added this comment when I posted this last year:

There’s an additional complexity issue that’s not reflected in the 2D network map of biochemical pathways: the 3D structure of the cell is critical for enzyme function and the transport of substrates/products. Many of these enzymes are membrane-associated, for example, and their orientation in the membrane defines their overall function. Experimental data suggests that very few enzymes are “floating” around in a cellular soup; it’s a viscous, structured arrangement. So you could put all the enzymes on the chart into a tiny test tube, and add all the substrates in solution, but it wouldn’t operate as a cell does. Yes, enzymatic reactions would occur. But it’s not a sustaining cellular system.

April 3, 2007 Posted by | Biology, Blog Recycling, Chemistry, Origin of Life | Leave a comment

Nerve Gas

Books and Culture has an fascinating review of two books about nerve gas:

War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda by Jonathan Tucker

Chemical Warfare: A Study in Restraints by Frederic Brown

Some quotes from the review:

My favorite of Tucker’s tales is the story of Boris Libman, a native of Latvia who could have walked straight out of the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Born in 1922, Libman was just 18 when the invading Russians confiscated his family’s land and property and drafted him into the Soviet Army. He was seriously wounded early in the war, returned to duty after a long recovery, and was again badly wounded, the second time left for dead. He survived the war and applied to study at the Moscow Institute for Chemistry tuition-free as an honorably discharged disabled veteran. Libman was turned down because he was officially dead. He managed to prove he was alive, attended university, and became quite a talented chemical engineer. He supervised production of thousands of tons of nerve gas on impossible schedules for many years. In trying to do his best for the Soviet Union, he made an error with a containment pond for toxic wastes. A storm caused a flood, the pond burst its dike, and tons of toxic waste poured into the Volga River. Months later the delayed effects of the spill killed millions of fish for 50 miles downriver. Libman was blamed and sent to a labor camp to appease an outraged public. But as it turned out, no one else could run the nerve gas plant, and Libman was quietly released and returned to work after one year.

Poison gases were used in WWI, but not to any large degree in WWII. All sides recognized the hideousness of these weapons, and the tactical difficulties in their use. Modern day terrorists don’t have the same qualms:

Quite rightly, Brown took a measure of comfort in reflecting that the restraints which existed in World War II continued in the Cold War era. Alas, this modest reassurance does not carry over to our own day. Terrorists are not soldiers. As their name suggests, their purpose is to inflict terror on the civilian population, while at the same time they can trust traditional Western reticence not to respond with indiscriminate murder in retaliation.

Grace and Peace

February 26, 2007 Posted by | Chemistry, Ethics | Leave a comment

Science Videos #1

Thermite reaction – a chemical reaction that generates enough heat to melt iron.

Alkali metal reactions – I’ve put sodium in water for a science demonstration, but that seems rather tame compared to rubidium or cesium in water!

Tacoma Narrows Bridge – the ultimate engineering mishap. Concrete and steel are flexible!

Liquid metal – watch the ball bounce, and bounce, and bounce…

Grace and Peace

January 30, 2007 Posted by | Chemistry, Misc, Physics | Leave a comment

O Chemis-tree, O Chemis-tree

It is that time of the year; time for chemists (and their students) to gather around their chemis-trees and sing chemis-tree carols.

Here’s one I wrote for the occasion:

(Tune: The Christmas Song)

Chestnuts roasting with an open fire
With a calorimeter
Chemis-tree carols being sung by a choir
And students dressed up with safety goggles

Everybody knows the specific heat of H2O
Is one calorie per gram degree Celsius
And though it’s been said, many times, many ways
Q=mC delta T

There are many more chemis-tree carols, of course, which can be found on the internet by searching for “chemis-tree carols.” After singing a number of chemis-tree carols, I ask my students to give their thoughts on “the true meaning of chemistry.”

To see the songs we sang in high school chemistry this year, keep on reading…

Grace and Peace

Continue reading

December 12, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | 2 Comments

Electron transport chain and ATP synthase animations

ATP synthase moves me to worship the Creator.

Every cell on Earth, from simple bacteria to human brain cells, needs a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate; pictured to the left) in order to do a wide variety of tasks. ATP is used as the cell’s energy molecule; the source of energy for everything from cell movement and protein synthesis to muscle contraction and transport of ions and molecules across cell membranes.

ATP is synthesized by a variety of means, but the most prolific source of ATP in your body is what is called the electron transport chain, which is part of the overall cellular respiration process in which food molecules are broken down in the presence of oxygen. I am currently teaching about cellular respiration—glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, and the electron transport chain—in my high school biology class, and have found animations on the internet that are useful for illustrating some difficult concepts. Even if you don’t know—or care—what glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, or the electron transport chain are, these animations from North Dakota State University are worth watching.

This second picture is of ATP synthase, a complex of proteins that is used to create ATP. Just as many can be moved to worship the Creator while walking under the stars on a moonless night, I am moved to worship God as I contemplate how complex these giant molecular machines are, and how they are integrated into a whole system designed to extract energy from our food one tiny bit at a time.
Electron transport chain animation

ATP synthase animation

More Virtual Cell animations

Grace and Peace

Question: How much ATP does a typical 70 kg (150 lb) person create and consume in a 24-hour period?Answer: About 70 kg. A human will produce and consume about his or her body weight in ATP during a 24-hour day. At any one time, your body contains on the order of 50 grams of ATP, and it is constantly synthesized and used as it is needed.

December 5, 2006 Posted by | Apologetics, Biology, Chemistry | Leave a comment

National Mole Day

Are you celebrating National Mole Day?

National Mole Dayno, moles are not mammals that make tunnels under your lawn, nor brown spots on your skin, nor spies working within an organizationis a celebration of the chemical concept of the mole.

So, what is a mole? Here’s my Chemistry textbook definition:

Mole: “quantity of a substance that has a mass in grams numerically equal to its formula mass; equal to 6.02 x1023 representative particles.”
Prentice Hall Chemistry, 2nd ed., p. 951

In other words, if carbon has an atomic mass of 12.011 (look on your periodic table), then a mole of carbon atoms has a mass of 12.011 grams, and contains 6.02 x1023 (or 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) atoms. This number is called Avogadro’s number.

National Mole Day is celebrated by chemists every year on October 23rd (10/23), starting at 6:02 A.M. Note that this was posted at 6:02 on 10/23! And how does one celebrate National Mole Day? Some do this by telling mole jokes. Here are a few:

  1. What is the best shot Avogadro has ever done on a golf course?
  2. Where does Avogadro stay when he is on vacation?
  3. What does Avogadro put in his hot chocolate?
  4. Which tooth did Avogadro have pulled?
  5. How does Avogadro write to his friends?
  6. What is Avogadro’s favorite Japanese sport?
  7. How many atoms are in a dish of guacamole?

Click on “Read the rest of this entry” to see the answers.

National Mole Day website
Wikipedia article

Grace and Peace

Continue reading

October 23, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | Leave a comment

The Orbitron

I just finished teaching about electron configurations and orbitals (quantum mechanics stuff) in Chemistry — you know, the 1s22s22p63s23p64s23d6 stuff. Well, maybe you don’t remember. Don’t worry about it.

If you do remember quantum mechanics, you’ll appreciate the graphical depictions of orbitals at The Orbitron, a gallery of atomic orbitals and molecular orbitals.

Even if you don’t remember your quantum mechanics, you can still appreciate the symmetry and order of God’s creation. (A quick review: an orbital is a space around the nucleus of an atom in which an electron is most likely to reside. These volumes range in shape from spherical to donut to… well, take a look).

3d orbitals

7g orbitals (I’ve never seen depictions of these before; they only exist for excited states, not for ground states)

Grace and Peace

October 17, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry | Leave a comment

Ununoctium — Element 118

Ununoctium (element 118, symbol Uuo) has been created by a lab in Russia, as part of a joint U.S.-Russia project. They created three atoms of ununoctium-294 by colliding nuclei of californium-249 with nuclei of calcium-48:

I’ve already added it to my classroom periodic table:


  • The creation of Uuo has been announced before. In 1999, a team of American scientists announced that they had synthesized this element, only to have other scientists pick their evidence apart.
  • I haven’t seen this reported on news sites yet; I’m not sure why not. It is on the Wikipedia home page today, with the article on ununoctium giving more details. Being that anyone can edit a Wikipedia article, this left me a little sceptical until I found the news release from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory online.
  • The name “ununoctium” is a temporary name meaning 1-1-8. It may take years for a decision to be made on its official name and symbol.


Webelements page on ununoctium — gives the story of the retracted 1999 creation of ununoctium
Wikipedia article on ununoctium

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory press release

Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia

Grace and Peace

October 16, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry | 1 Comment

Name that element

We’re doing elements and atomic theory in Chemistry right now. Sometimes I give my students worksheets, and sometimes I give them “funsheets.” I tell them that all worksheets are funsheets, but they aren’t convinced yet.

Here’s a funsheet. You may need a periodic table or a list of the elements to help with some of these.

Provide the name for the element:

Clue Element
1. joint between upper and lower leg neon
2. mother’s sister’s cash _________________
3. native of North America _________________
4. to endure hardship or injury _________________
5. where you wash dishes _________________
6. foolish prisoner _________________
7. policeman _________________
8. to press laundry _________________
9. I sit down and eat _________________
10. Yosemite National Park is here _________________
11. Lone Ranger’s horse _________________
12. Canis lupus _________________
13. I am sneezing and have a runny nose. I have a _________________
14. a flower _________________
15. I drink pop, but people in other parts of the country say _________________
16. the Good __________ _________________
17. parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme _________________
18. the chair is on the __________ _________________
19. _______ on the range _________________
20. _______ of Arabia _________________
21. dull chemistry lesson* _________________
22. bile is stored in the ________ bladder _________________
23. European country _________________
24. another European country _________________
25. five cents _________________
26. 50 percent _________________
27. what doctors do _________________
28. what morticians do _________________
29. what cowboys did on horses _________________
30. Carpe diem. _________ the day. _________________

*doesn’t exist in nature

For the answers, continue reading:

Continue reading

September 23, 2006 Posted by | Chemistry, Fun | Leave a comment