Tools of Ridiculous Precision

Chapter 18. By Lizzy Pisano

Synopsis of Chapter 18

In chapter 18, the author talks about measurement bureau's and how different countries have their own standard bureaus. The author also mentions the International Prototype Kilogram which a platinum rod was used to measure it. The author says Platinum is dense, tough and also conducts electricity well ( pg. 163). Then in 1960, the International Prototype Kilogram was redefined with a krypton atom.

Also in 1960, the Cesium standard was the worlds official measurement of time. Cesium heavy, lumbering atoms are fat targets for maser that strums them as well. Cesium has one electron exposed in it's outermost shell (pg. 164). Then the author talks about the element Uranium. He talked about how Olko, a galactic marvel: the only natural nuclear fission reactor known to exists. All it was powdered with was Uranium, water, and blue-green algae (pg. 165). Then the author goes to talk about four more elements which are Samarium, Chromium, Fermium, and Magnesium.

Platinum

  • Atomic Number: 78
  • Mass: 195.08
  • Period: 6
  • Group: 10
  • Element Classification: Transition Metal
  • Platinum is a solid
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 5d3
  • Platinum is important because it conducts electricity well (pg. 163). It also is dense and tough material.
  • Found in the South America and modern credit is given to Antonio De Ulloa
  • Platinum has six natural occurring isotopes which are 190 Pt, 192 Pt, 194 Pt, 196 Pt, and 198 Pt.
  • Unique characteristics: It is used to make jewelry. It is a soft and is very resistant to corrosion.

Krypton

  • Atomic Number: 36
  • Mass: 83.80
  • Period: 4
  • Group: 18
  • Element Classification: Noble gas
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6
  • Krypton is important because it is used in some types of photography that deals with the flash for high speed photography.
  • Found by Scottish chemist Sir William Ramsay and a English chemist Morris M. Travers in Britain.
  • Krypton has five natural occurring isotopes which are 80 Kr, 82 Kr, 83 Kr, 34 Kr, and 86 Kr.
  • Unique characteristics: The earth's atmosphere is 0.0001% Krypton. Fluorescent lights contain Krypton mixed with Argon gas.

Cesium

  • Atomic Number: 55
  • Mass: 132.91
  • Period: 6
  • Group: 1
  • Element classification: Alkali metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s1
  • Cesium is important because it can be used in clocks like it was used in 1960 according to the book (pg. 163).
  • Found by Robert Wilhelm Bunsen and Gustav Robert Kirchoff, they were German chemist in 1860
  • Cesium has one natural occurring isotope which is 133 Cs
  • Cesium Chloride and Cesium nitrate are the most common compound and used for the production of other chemicals.
  • Unique characteristics: Cesium is highly reactive to water and ice, forming the compound Cesium hydroxide (CsOH).

Magnesium

  • Atomic Number: 12
  • Mass: 24.31
  • Period: 3
  • Group: 2
  • Element classification: Alkaline earth metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2
  • Magnesium is important because it could be a huge help for primitive creatures, allowing them to transition from organic molecules to real life (pg. 168).
  • Found by Sir Humphry Davy, a English chemist in 1808.
  • Compounds that are common would be magnesium carbonate and magnesium fluoride. Magnesium carbonate is used to make some types of paints and inks. Magnesium fluoride is used to help reduce glare and reflections on optical lenses.
  • Magnesium has three natural occurring isotopes which are 24 Mg, 25 Mg, and 26 Mg.
  • Unique characteristics: Magnesium burns a white bright light used in pyrotechnics, flares and photographic flashbulbs.

Uranium

  • Atomic Number: 92
  • Mass: 238.03
  • Period: 7
  • Group: None
  • Element classification: Transition metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f14 5d10 6p6 7s2 5f3
  • Uranium is important because it is used for ammunition for military weaponry, a shield against radiation.
  • Found by a German chemist, Martin Heinrich Klaproth.
  • in 1789.
  • Uranium is naturally radioactive in the form of uranium dioxide and is commonly used in the nuclear power industry to generate electricity.
  • Uranium has three natural occurring isotopes which are 234 U, 235 U, and 238 U.
  • Unique characteristics: Uranium is used to color glass and it has been used for centuries.

Samarium

  • Atomic number: 62
  • Mass: 150.36
  • Period: 6
  • Group: None
  • Element classification: Transition metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f5
  • Samarium is important because it is used in motion picture industries which is how we watch our movies and how we have projectors at school.
  • Paul-Emile Lecoq De Boisbaudran, a French chemist was the first to get Samarium by itself and Jean Charles Galissard De Marignac observed it.
  • Samarium has five natural occurring isotopes which are 144 Sm, 149 Sm, 150 Sm, 152 Sm, and 154 Sm.
  • Samarium is a rare earth element. It is used in motion picture industries for studio lighting and projector lights.
  • Unique characteristics: 1% is used to make flint for lighters. A powerful permanent magnet with highest resistance to demagnetization is formed with Samarium and Cobalt. (SmCo5)

Chromium

  • Atomic Number: 24
  • Mass: 51.996
  • Period: 4
  • Group: 6
  • Element classification: Transition metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d4
  • Chromium is important because industries use them for different things.
  • Chromium is a blue-white metal that is hard.
  • Found by Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin in 1797.
  • Chromium has three naturally occurring istoptes which are 52 Cr, 53 Cr, and 54 Cr.
  • Unique characteristics: It has a high melting point so it is used to make molds for firing bricks. It has many colorful compounds such as Lead chromate which is Chrome yellow and has been used as yellow pigments in paint. Also Chromic oxide, also known as Chrome green, which has been used as green pigments in paint as well.

Fermium

  • Atomic Number: 100
  • Mass: 257
  • Period: 7
  • Group: None
  • Element classification: Transition metal
  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6 5s2 4d10 5p6 6s2 4f14 5d10 6p6 7s2 5f11
  • Found by a team but the leader of the team was Albert Ghiorso in 1952. Named after Enrico Fermi.
  • Fermium's most stable isotope is 257 Fm, that is only half-life
  • Due to Fermiums only half life. it is not used, only for scientific research.

Summary of the elements

In Chapter 18, the eight elements that were talked about, most of them are used in some type of way today. Most of the elements are transition metals and have a couple of stable isotopes. Cesium and Fermium have only one natural occurring stable isotope. Chapter 18 was very interesting and it talked about certain elements in depth.

Citations