7 HISTORY MAKING ELEMENTS OF THE PERIODIC TABLE
7 History Making Elements of the Periodic Table – If you’re into science, you probably know there are 118 elements on the Periodic Table. If you’re not into science, you might be wondering what the periodic table is. The periodic table is a tabular display of chemical elements organized by atomic number. Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, a Russian chemistry professor, discovered the periodic table on February 17, 1869. At that time, there were only 63 known elements. Throughout the years, some elements have become more historical than others.
Here are 7 history making elements of the periodic table.
1. The Lightest Element
If you look at the periodic table, you’ll see that we list hydrogen first. The reason is that hydrogen has only one proton and one electron, which makes it the simplest element. Hydrogen, a colorless and odorless gas, is also the lightest element on the periodic table. Even though it’s the lightest element, it is quite powerful and highly explosive.
2. The Heaviest Element
Currently, the heaviest element on the periodic table is uranium. This heavy metal contains 92 protons and 143 neutrons. Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, discovered uranium in 1789. He named the element after the planet Uranus, which William Herschel discovered eight years earlier. Throughout the years, we’ve used uranium to create nuclear energy.
3. The Rarest Element
A radioactive chemical element called astatine is the rarest element on Earth. Chemists believed astatine existed in the 1800s but was not discovered until 70 years later. Only about 25 grams of astatine occurs on the planet at any given time. Some researchers believe that astatine has the potential to help cure cancer.
4. The Most Abundant Element
You probably aren’t surprised to know that oxygen is the most abundant element on the planet. Oxygen makes up 46.6 percent of Earth’s mass and is also the most abundant element in the human body. In fact, 65 percent of the human body weight is comprised of oxygen. When it comes to the most abundant elements in the universe, oxygen ranks behind hydrogen and helium.
5. The First Discovered Element
A German alchemist named Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus in 1649, making it the first scientific discovery of an element. Phosphorus is a mineral that makes up 1 percent of a human’s body weight. It is also the second most abundant element in the body, with most of it found in the bones and teeth. We also find phosphorous in every single cell of the body.
6. The Most Recently Discovered Element
In 2010, scientists made the most recent discovery of a chemical element, a halogen called tennessine. Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee were involved in the discovery, hence the element’s name. Tennessine is the second heaviest element. They added it to the periodic table in 2016.
7. The Most Useful Element
It is debatable what we consider the most useful element on Earth. Many would agree, though, that it is aluminum. We use this versatile light metal in a variety of ways. Industry uses aluminum to make everything from airplanes to cookware. They also use it as an electrical conductor in electrical transmission lines. Besides all of that, how on earth would we grill or bake without aluminum foil? As a kitchen tool, we use it almost every day.
What do you consider the most useful element on the periodic table? Do you believe scientists will discover more elements? How many elements will the periodic table contain in the next 10 or 20 years?
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