Franklin Veaux (tacit) wrote,
Franklin Veaux

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chemistry geekiness and shower curtains

So Shelly bought a shower curtain with the Periodic Table of Elements on it, which is the second-coolest1 thing she's got in the last two months.

And I was looking at it the other day, while sitting on the pot meditation, and noticed something about it that kind of bugged me.

So i went online and looked at other periodic tables as well. They all have the same error, and it drives me crazy.

Folks, hydrogen is a metal!!!

Look where it is. Same column as lithium, sodium, potassium, and other reactive light metals. In fact, the only periodic table that gets it right is the one at the Los Alamos National Laboratories Web site.

Hydrogen is a metal. I think we get all confused about hydrogen because we are accustomed to thinking of metals in a certain way; metal is what your car is made out of, and what your canned food comes in, and hydrogen is normally a gas, so it's not a metal, right? (We don't seem to have this issue with mercury, a metal that's liquid at room temperature, but for some reason the idea of a metal that's a gas at room temperature seems to make us think, well, that's not a metal, it's a gas!)

In its solid form, hydrogen is a metal. The core of Jupiter is an enormous ball of metallic hydrogen.

Which means that hydrogen on Shelly's shower curtain should be teal, not red. Dammit.

Edit: Forgot the footnote!
1 The coolest thing? Shelly's mom sent her Christmas lights with a BDSM theme. Each light is a round white ball, and the balls all have collars or harnesses or straps around them. :)
Tags: science
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