Political Elements

Even the elements have to deal with Trump

The rift between Branches

In the early 1900's, a political rift was opening. A rift between chemistry, and physics. This rift further complicated this time period, as if World Wars 1 and 2 were bad enough! This rift turned scientists against each other. It complicated the awarding of the prestigious Nobel Prize, but, also allowed for the discovery of multiple new elements due to the furthering of knowledge in both fields. One of the scientists to discover new elements was Marie Curie, shown at right. She discovered the elements polonium and radium (she was fascinated with radium because of the blueish-green glow it gave off), both of which are highly radioactive. The radioactivity eventually gave Mrs. Curie leukemia and killed her, just like Polonium did to her daughter 22 years later.

Elements in Chapter 12

Note: Lanthanum was already known at the time these elements were discovered. It is listed here because it is mentioned in this chapter.

Curium

Polonium

Lutetium

Hafnium

Protactinium

Lanthanum

Meitnerium

Radium

Effects of World War 2 on the Chemistry world

During the growth of the political rift between Chemists and Physicists, World War 2 broke out. This war cause the rift to grow wider. At one point, Gyorgy Hevesy, a jewish scientist and his friend, a jewish sympathiser and defender, had to melt down two gold Nobel Prize medals that some friends had given to him for safekeeping in aqua regia, a caustic mix of hydrochloric and nitric acid. They did this to prevent the Nazis from getting the gold, as the Nazis were banging at the door at the time. By the time they were done, the mixture was orange. Hevesy returned later, after V-E Day, and precipitated the gold out. They then were able to get the Swedish academy to re-cast the medals for them. How nice of them!!!

Fission is the Vision

In 1938, Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner heard from a friend, Ferdinand Joliot-Curie, that they had created transuranic (means "past uranium") elements by bombarding uranium with neutrons. And, that these elements had properties similar to lanthanum. Meitner, thinking this to be "hogwash" duplicates the experiment. To her surprise, she gets the same result. After due consideration, she and Hahn come to the conclusion that they had not made a transuranic element, but had instead ACTUALLY made lanthanum. They had split the atom, or performed nuclear fission. This eventually leads to the atomic bomb.