Perhaps for most people, the first thing they think about chemistry is the periodic table of elements. I found that Element FAQs at about.com and Wikipedia are both great sources for interesting facts/lists about elements. Some of my favorite are:
Element Discovery Timeline
I realized how great the earlier chemists are. Here you see big names like Scheele, Davy, Berzelius.
Naming of elements (see also: List of chemical element name etymologies, List of chemical elements naming controversies, Transfermium Wars)
I personally find that the controversies of columbium (Cb) / niobium (Nb) and tungsten / wolfram and related stories are pretty interesting. Will talk about this story in the next post.
List of scientists whose names are used in chemical element names
For sure Mendeleev is on this list.
List of scientists whose names are used as SI units
This reminds me of a classic joke for nerds (find more here):
Einstein, Newton and Pascal are playing hide and go seek. lt’s Einstein’s turn to count so he covers his eyes and starts counting to ten. Pascal runs off and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square on the ground in front of Einstein then stands in the middle of it. Einstein reaches ten and uncovers his eyes. He sees Newton immediately and exclaims “Newton! I found you! You’re it!”
Newton smiles and says “You didn’t find me, you found a Newton over a square meter. You found Pascal!”
List of scientists whose names are used as non SI units
Torr is from Torricelli!
List of scientists whose names are used in physical constants
Euler was a giant.
What Is the Most Expensive Element?
Since personally I am doing palladium chemistry, I googled the price for Pd and Ni. On 12/20/2014, Pd is about $800/oz, and Ni is about $7/lb. i.e. Pd is more than 1800 times as expensive as Ni. However, in academia, researchers tend to use Pd, usually because it gives better results. but I doubt that Pd is always 1800 times better than Ni. I remember once a speaker said: “Do not use cheap metals. They give cheap results.”
What Letter Is not Found in the Periodic Table?
A good conversation starter for chemists.