OPEN THREAD 20200106

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

Citizen U

Day 61 – PROMETHIUM.

6 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200106

  1. I’m going to do a slight break from protocol, here — I had a certain modernist take I wanted to do with the musical interlude…..and the first 15 attempts ended with “not available in your country” or “withdrawn”. Then, I thought, “I can do Tangerine Dream”! ….and the first 12 youtubes were 11 over an hour long and one ancient weird one from the 70s. So I’m posting the one I thought was appropriate so I can clear about 25 tabs.

    …..be right back with the element.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Part of the story of the discovery of the lanthanides was that at first, they had no way of knowing just how many of them there were. There was this huge span of atomic weights that was filling in with the things, but no real way to know how densely populated it was.

    At the time, hydrogen was known to be atomic weight one, then lithium, about seven, and so on. The numbers weren’t consecutive, and no one knew whether there could be an element between hydrogen and lithium…or three elements! (Eventually it became known that helium was in there.)

    It wasn’t until Mosely discovered that x ray reactions with the nucleus had a simple relationship to the sequential number of the element that we could speak about an atomic number rather than an atomic weight, and we could test everything known at that time and see where there were still holes.

    Uranium, at the time, was top dog at #92, but we still had no idea where elements 43, 61, 72, and 75 were. To say nothing of 85 and 87.

    72 and 75 were ultimately discovered and stable, but 43 and 61 defied all attempts to find them, and for good reason…they were unstable, with short half lives, so if any were on Earth when it formed, it was long gone (and no other known process could make them). Eventually nuclear fission was discovered and since that uranium atom breaks into a large variety of pieces…some of those were technetium and promethium. Holes in the periodic table now filled.

    Were promethium not radioactive, it’d be another lanthanide, with oddball optical and magnetic properties, just like technetium would probably make some wonderful steel alloys if it weren’t radioactive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You and I have perceived some parts of the magic and mystery of chemistry. Your post really conveys some of the excitement and delight involved. I got it naturally from somewhere, and find it difficult to explain why it’s so wonderful to people who don’t just see it.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, hell…..we’re in the middle of the lanthanides…..let’s do the joke as well…..

    There was a certain period in French history where down-on-their-luck nobility would marry nouveau riche American girls. The Marquesses and Earls would know that their family estates would not be foreclosed by a bank, and the American families would know that their sons would be Marquesses and Earls……

    So it seems a certain French Count had entered into such a relationship, and — as tended to be the case — his wife got to be in the family way. Nobody could doubt that there was an actual affection involved, as the Count became increasingly nervous at the Countess’ increasing girth. Finally, the appointed time drew near and the most experienced and capable doctor in the region was summoned to the Count’s castle.

    He performed a thorough examination of the Countess. He also talked with the midwife on duty, with whom he was well acquainted. He interviewed the lady’s maids. Then he went downstairs and interviewed the Count. After this, he made himself comfortable with his medical bag near the fire in the parlor, motioned the Count into an adjoining chair, went over to the sideboard and poured a glass of cognac for the Count, and pulled a deck of cards out of his bag.

    “It is our time to wait”, he explained, and suggested a card game. They played several hands over some hours and heard a yell from upstairs — “Mon dieu, mon dieu!!!!” The Count leapt to his feet and was about to go tearing off when the doctor shushed him, motioned him to sit, and said, “this is not the time.”

    The doctor refreshed the Count’s glass, they finished out the hand, and played some hours more…..until they heard a shout from upstairs, “Oh, my god, OH MY GOD!!!” Again, the Count leapt to his feet and the doctor shushed him, got him to sit down, and said, “this is not the time.” And refilled his glass.

    Several hours went by, and the Count was fraying at the edges while the doctor had the calm of someone who had seen new life and life’s passing more times than he could count — understanding that all would proceed as God willed…..Still they played cards for hours more…..until a scream from upstairs, “oy, GEVALT!!!!”

    The doctor stood up, scooped up the cards into his medical bag, picked up the bag, and said, “it’s time.” Then he marched across the room and up the staircase, leaving the Count behind.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Heh. I fell asleep without doing the actual element.

    Promethium is a lanthanide rare earth…..but one that is actually quite rare because it has no stable isotopes. That means it has no large-scale industrial uses. Promethium-147 has been used to make luminous paint and atomic batteries, but the great majority of promethium produced appears to be used in the production of research papers.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratories used to make about a pound per year (650 grams) in the 1960s, but current production is Russian.

    Liked by 1 person

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