OPEN THREAD 20200107

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 62 – SAMARIUM.

9 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20200107

  1. Samarium is a right proper rare earth element, more common (40th) than tin in the earth’s crust but only teased out of the muck in 1879. We can go through the rest of the lanthanide rare earth litany — not really rare, found with other rare earths, gas mantels, catalysts, mischmetal, nl;jkbgn — oh, sorry, I dozed off and my face hit the keyboard….

    OTOH — samarium has its own collection of magical abilities. Chief among them is its use in samarium-cobalt permanent magnets — which are second in strength only to neodymium magnets but remain magnetic at 700 C while neodymium magnets go blank at 300-400 C. Only slightly less tricky is its broad abilities regarding neutron capture, resulting in its use in reactor control rods.

    For those keeping track over the long term, rare earths have generic abilities and “magic” abilities. The magic is generally optic, magnetic, or nuclear. When we get to the end of the long slog of the lanthanides, I may do a recap. [Then, again, there is my long-threatened historical geopolitical assessment of tin.]

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  2. In regard to heat and magnetism, I had previously talked about heat-treating iron by heating it until a magnet wouldn’t stick to it at .

    The official name for this is the Curie point — named for Pierre Curie, who described the phenomena. That didn’t get him the Nobel prize — his work in physics with his wife, Marie, got that. After Pierre was hit by a wagon and killed, Marie got a chemistry Nobel for isolating radium — becoming the first female Nobel laureate, the first person to have won two Nobel prizes, the first (and only) person to have won two Nobels in different disciplines, and the center of a family that won five Nobel prizes.


  3. Samarium was, in a somewhat roundabout way, named after Vasili Yevgrafovich Samarsky-Bykhovets. Samarium was named after Samarskite, and Skamarskite was named after the Russian mine official.

    Incidentally, Vasili Yevgrafovich Samarsky-Bykhovets was born on November 7, 1803. Marie Curie was born on November 7, 1867. And “Red October” was November 7, 1917.

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  4. I really wanted samarium to have some clear connection to Samarkand — a city founded in the paleolithic period. Sadly, it turned into Muslim brutalist architecture after it was overrun.

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  5. OK, so a certain school decides to send a bunch of engineers and architects to a conference by train. The architecture faculty adviser stands in line and purchases 9 tickets. The engineer behind him buys one.

    Away from the ticket counter, the architect fumes — you’ve got 8 engineers, how are you going to get them all to the conference on one ticket?!?!? You’ll see, replies the engineer.

    Everyone gets on the train to go off to the conference. After some hours, a lookout for the engineers sees a conductor going through the cars taking tickets. All the engineers cram themselves into that railcar’s restroom while the architects look confused. The conductor comes into their car and punches all the architects’ tickets. When the conductor knocks on the door of the restroom, an engineer passes the ticket under the door and it gets punched and pushed back under the door.

    They arrive at the conference and do the usual sort of things for three days. Then, they all toddle off back to the train station. This time, the architecture group buys one ticket……but the engineers don’t buy any.

    This time, when the lookout spots the conductor, all the engineers pile into one of the car’s bathrooms and all the architects bundle into the other. Several minutes go by, and then one of the engineers goes over to the architects’ restroom and knocks on the door….


  6. BTW, I’ve been having CPAP problems of late which I have hopefully resolved this afternoon. With any luck, this is the last night I’ll be totally looped.

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