Discovery of Mercury

Mercury has been known to man since the Ancient times and the person who discovered it is unknown. It has origins with the Chinese, Egyptians, and Hindus. Its name used to be hydro-argyros which translates to liquid-silver which is where we got the symbol Hg from. Alchemists identified the element with the planet Mercury because they believed that both had mystical properties. This is how it got it's modern name mercury.

The picture to the left is the traditional symbol of mercury.

Characteristics and Uses of Mercury

Mercury is a transition metal with a dense, silvery appearance. It has been described as mirror-like and is a poisonous metal. It has a high density and high surface tension. Because of this, at room temperature it forms tiny droplets. It has 80 protons and and atomic mass of 200.59. It is used in thermometers, barometers, fluorescent lamps, and batteries. Compounds of it is used in medicine, dentistry, and cosmetics.

Mercury in Nature

Mercury in its elemental state is a liquid at room temperature, and if it is not closed off it will slowly evaporate into the air. It is rarely found as a liquid in nature. Inorganic mercury compounds are common in nature. Most of these compounds are white crystals or powders. The most common compound is mercury sulfide, also called cinnabar, which is a red color. Mercury can be found in fish too, which can be a hazard for humans if they eat too many fish with high levels of mercury.
MERCURY vs Golf Ball vs Ping Pong Ball Brain Teaser


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