The Disappearing Spoon

Chapter 15. An Element of Madness

Dimitri Earp. Chapter 15. Mangnese

Chapter 15, An Element of Madness includes 5 total elements. Selenium, Manganese, Palladium, Barium, and Roentgenium. Selenium is a nutrient found in all humans and animals, but in large doses the element is very toxic. Selenium was basically a hallucination causing element known well by farmers because cows would eat plants containing the element and become ill with the side effects. Many believe that scientist Crooke's hallucinations were caused because of Selenium. The element Manganese is discussed in this chapter referring to Shark or Megalodon teeth. The teeth of these creatures are often the only part which remains of the shark carcass because it can withstand the pressure of the ocean. Overtime the element Manganese forms around the teeth. However, the layer of Manganese on the shark teeth are very thin about eleven thousand years worth so many say that Megalodons’ still lurk in the oceans depths today(Chapter 15).

The element Palladium in chapter 15 refers to an experiment where the scientist duo Pons and Fleischmann had supposedly found the first evidence of cold fusion. However the cold fusion claim ended with a rally of people calling out Pons and Fleischmann on overlooking multiple experimental errors. In chapter 15 Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-Rays accidentally while using the element Barium to conduct an experiment. At first Roentgen thought he was hallucinating but he decided to conduct an experiment to assure himself of what he had seen. He took a Barium plated screen and placed a book at the end of a Crooke's tube to block the light coming out and he saw the key which he had used as a bookmark projected onto the screen. He later tried this with his hand and saw his own skeleton. This discovery caused Roentgen to win the Nobel Peace Prize in Physics. The element Roentgenium is actually the largest element on the periodic table in 2004, known as number 111 or Unununium was renamed to what it is known as today, "Roentgenium" which is named after Wilhelm Roentgen(Chapter 15).


Selenium - Se, Atomic Number 34, 78.96 atomic mass, Group 17, Period 4. Metalloid , e- configuration:1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p4. Discovered by Jöns Berzelius in 1817 in Sweden. The element is normally a by-product extracted from copper but can be found in plants.

Winter, M. (2015). Selenium: The essentials. Retrieved January 10, 2016, from


Manganese- Mn, Atomic Number, 54.93 atomic mass, Group7, Period 4. Transition Metal, e- configuration:1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d5. Discovered by Johann Gahn in 1717 in Sweden. Most of Manganese can be found in ores from Australia, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and even the ocean.

Winter, M. (2015). Manganese: The essentials. Retrieved January 10, 2016, from


Palladium- Pd, Atomic Number 46, 106.42 atomic mass, Group 10, Period 5. Transition Metal, e- configuration:

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d8. Discovered by William Hyde Wollaston in 1803 in England. Palladium can be found in Ethiopia, Russia, Brazil, Australia, North America, South America, and even in Canada.

Winter, M. (2015). Palladium: The essentials. Retrieved January 10, 2016, from


Barium- Ba, Atomic Number 56, 137.237 atomic mass, Group 2, Period 6. Alkali Earth Metal, e-configuration:1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2. Discovered by Sir Humphry Davy in 1808 in England. Barium is never found in nature,

but is mainly found in two ores, Witherite, and Barite.

Winter, M. (2015). Barium: The essentials. Retrieved January 10, 2016, from


Roentgenium- Rg, Atomic Number 111, 281 atomic mass, Period 7, Group 11. Transition Metal, e-configuration:1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 5f14 6s2 6p6 6d10 7s1. Discovered by F. P. Hessberger, S. Hofmann, P. Armbruster, V. Ninov, H. Folger, G. Münzenberg, in 1994 in Germany. Roentgenium is synthetic and cannot be naturally found.

Winter, M. (2015). Roentgenium: The essentials. Retrieved January 10, 2016, from

Why are these elements important?

In this chapter of the book only five elements were talked about, but these fie elements are very important. The element Selenium is a very important nutrient to the body but it is also harmful in large doses. The element Barium is very important because of X-rays, without X-rays we would not be able to tell if a bone is broken or fractured very well. Palladium is important for almost everyone. Palladium is an alternative for gold plating inside of electronics(Winter m., 2015. Palladium). As of now Roentgenium is only used for conducting research it has no biological role. Manganese plays many roles in health such as improved metabolism, body constructing, and physical fitness(Winter M. 2015. Manganese).