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What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:39 am UTC
by kernelpanic
You don't need to specify why Of course, if you can, then please do.

I love:
Bismuth. It forms really cool crystal structures

I hate:
Francium. All the idiots in my class want to put some in water. This happens:
Spoiler:
Student 1: Hey! where can you buy francium?
Me: You can't.
S1: Is it illegal?
Me: Probably not.
S2: So why can't you buy it?
Me: Because it is very radioactive. The largest cluster ever produced was about 10,000 atoms large.
S2: That's big.
Me: No, It's not. there is MORE than a six followed by 23 0s atoms in a gram of Hydrogen.
<At this point, they simply wonder how much that is, and probably wonder if it's feasible to gather that many atoms in 10,000 atoms large packs.>

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:54 am UTC
by Supergrunch
I remember hearing that as a result of relativistic effects, francium is actually less reactive with water than caesium is, so you can tell them that. Makes sense I suppose, what with it being in the right period for that kind of thing. Anyway there are of course many more atoms of caesium in the world, although I'm not sure how easy they are to get hold of. I've held a tube of it once, which was quite cool - its melting point is around the temperature of your skin, so it soon looked like golden mercury.

Anyhoo, I'm not sure I have all that many elementary preferences, although I suppose silicon is fun. (semi-conductors and same group as carbon)

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:00 am UTC
by poxic
Supergrunch wrote:although I suppose silicon is fun.

That would depend on the shape it takes.

I've often been fond of xenon, for being a noble gas and having a cool name. I also just learned that it's used as fuel in most electric rockets used on satellites and in the space program.

Can't say I have a least favourite, though chlorine might be up there. Bloody nasty stuff sometimes.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:15 am UTC
by Rentsy
Well, don't confuse reactivity with hydrogen gas production. The hydrogen stolen from the water by the alkalai metal is what combines with the oxygen in the air, burning. Enough reactivity and it catches on fire by its self.

Just as reactivity increases as you go down the column, so do moles/gram. And high reactivity won't do much if there isn't enough hydrogen to light. So the best burners are Sodium or potassium, and anything more doesn't cause massive explosions. Cesium is downright disappointing.

My favorite element is phosphorus. This is because it enjoys such a long history with humans. We've used it in our matches for a long time.

It burns.

It glows.

It comes in many different allotropes, which is awesome.

Some allotropes look like green foliage to an infra-red camera, and that's why phosphorus will be important to wars of the future (There's more to it than the smokescreen/firebomb effects of white phosphorus) White Phosphorus, incidentally, is amazing - the Marines call it "shake and bake".

And everybody knows that we need nitrogen for our plants to grow, and indeed nitrogen is the MOST important, but phosphorus is the second most important. And we can't harvest phosphorus from the air. It is accumulating in deposits deep beneath our oceans.

That's because living things absolutely depend on it for ATP, DNA, RNA... phospholipids...

It's got so many uses, and shows up in so many places, each time displaying a totally new attribute. It's like a trick that never gets old or a lover who is always willing to learn.

I suppose I find Boron boring.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:23 am UTC
by Matterwave1
I like Krypton cus that's where Superman came from. :D

I dislike Arsenic, cus that'll kill u. D=

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:24 am UTC
by BlackSails
Matterwave1 wrote:I like Krypton cus that's where Superman came from. :D

I dislike Arsenic, cus that'll kill u. D=


So will krypton, at the right partial pressures :evil:

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:31 am UTC
by ducksan
The hydrides of boron are the exact opposite of boring. Weird-ass structures, electron-deficient bonding, and so on.
The element also forms some very hard ceramic materials, and colors flame green.
I agree completely about phosphorus, though. Amazing stuff.
Silicon is either incredibly boring or the exact opposite, depending on what it's bonded to. It's also incredibly common. The fun (and dangerous) forms almost always revert, with vigor, to the boring forms. Case in point: Silane, SiH4, the silicon version of methane. Nothing like it (except it's also a gas) - probably a lot more toxic, and bursts into flame spontaneously, producing extra-fine particles of glass if you let some of it escape into the air, which must be great for your lungs if you're exposed to them. (Though you can do small demonstrations that are roughly harmless. I think you can reduce glass to magnesium silicide with magnesium, then react the chunks of Mg2Si with water.)
Silicon tetrachloride is easily attacked by water, also making glass. I bet you could have a lot of fun pouring the stuff into water.

Carbon may well be my favorite. I've heard it said that carbon is special because it isn't - its bonds are just unreactive enough that you can build stable structures out of tens, hundreds, or thousands of C atoms. Its tetravalency and ~400 kJ/mol (maybe less? can't remember) C-C bond are what makes it king.

Least favorite? Actinides, because most of them are just of theoretical interest. And they're too radioactive for me to go anywhere near in real life. =P

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:26 am UTC
by Interactive Civilian
I like Boron, because it's the 5th Element. :P :mrgreen:
leelu dallas multipass

*ducks*

I can't say there are any that I particularly dislike. Maybe Sulfur because of the smell...

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:29 am UTC
by Brooklynxman
Hydrogen, b/c the most abundant element in the universe, is also the most valuable (by price per gram), albeit in its tritium form. Thats just pure awesome.

Least favorite, will get back to you

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:34 am UTC
by Matterwave1
BlackSails wrote:
Matterwave1 wrote:I like Krypton cus that's where Superman came from. :D

I dislike Arsenic, cus that'll kill u. D=


So will krypton, at the right partial pressures :evil:


Cus you run out of Oxygen to breathe?

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:55 am UTC
by Tass
A few candidates:

Boron because of nice green flames and other stuff.
Neodymiuim because of powerfull permanent magnets. (Actually that goes for boron as well).
Bismuth because of its cool name and diamagnetism.
I guess with all this magnet talk it would be downrigth unfair not to mention iron.

Like many others I think it is hard to find a hate element, they all have something going for them.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:29 am UTC
by The Boz
Hydrogen. I really think Hydrogen is awesome.
I dislike... hmm... I don't really dislike any element. I think all are fun in their unique way.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:37 pm UTC
by BlackSails
Matterwave1 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Matterwave1 wrote:I like Krypton cus that's where Superman came from. :D

I dislike Arsenic, cus that'll kill u. D=


So will krypton, at the right partial pressures :evil:


Cus you run out of Oxygen to breathe?


No, the pp of oxygen remains unaffected. Krypton has a opiate-like effect at high enough pp. Also, at high enough pp it will burst your lungs

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:37 pm UTC
by Velifer
C, H, N, O, P, and S are great.
Arrange them just right and you get lunch!

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:48 pm UTC
by fuzzywolf
Nitrogen is really awesome with all sorts of uses in amateur rocket making~

Tungsten . . .well tungsten blows. That's why we hide it in other metals and try to forget about it

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:32 pm UTC
by Charlie!
Velifer wrote:C, H, N, O, P, and S are great.
Arrange them just right and you get lunch!

Like an anagram? Sponch?

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:49 pm UTC
by meat.paste
OK, just because no has posted it yet in this thread... http://www.periodicvideos.com

I like wolfram (tungsten) because of its melting point. Osmium is fun because of its density and its chemistry. I'm partial to carbon simply because I exist because of it (thanks carbon!) Fluorine is fun because it dissociates so easily and is so reactive (~20% of it is mono-atomic at room temperature and pressure and it will ignite most carbon containing things on contact.)

Rhenium is pissing me off right now because of some metallurgical problems I'm having with it.

Edit: http://periodictable.com/ and http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable are also good sites to visit.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 7:55 pm UTC
by thecommabandit
Probably a toss-up between uranium, vanadium and mercury. Mercury may be poisonous but it's prettymuch the only element that's liquid at room temperature (bromine doesn't count - it evaporates if you breath on it :P). Vanadium has a cool name, loads of oxidations states which all make pretty colours, and uranium can be used to make glass that fluoresces a lurid green under UV light. The whole nuclear weapons and reactors stuff makes it a bit not cool.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:41 pm UTC
by ducksan
I didn't know 20% of fluorine gas was monatomic...wow. Heh, it'll go after a lot of things besides carbon compounds; one of its more "activated" forms, chlorine trifluoride (ClF3), will attack virtually anything. Burning asbestos, whee!

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:09 pm UTC
by Klotz
Tungsten. Definitely Tungsten.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:15 pm UTC
by BlackSails
thecommabandit wrote:Probably a toss-up between uranium, vanadium and mercury. Mercury may be poisonous but it's prettymuch the only element that's liquid at room temperature (bromine doesn't count - it evaporates if you breath on it :P)


Gallium is close enough to a liquid at room temp.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:21 pm UTC
by Zeroignite
My favorite element is probably Aluminum. It's pretty neat metallurgically, and the Thermal/Electrical conductivity is sweet. Also, being P-block means it has more interesting chemistry than the Transition Metals, even though it appears quite like them physically. And on a personal level, I really like the specific color/luster that a block of Al has :) .

Other favorites are Carbon (for the allotropes), Copper (same reasons as Al), Bismuth (Xtals, density, diamagnetism, radioactivity :shock: ), and Mercury (liquid!)

My least favorite is Manganese. I don't really know why.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:40 pm UTC
by oxoiron
Zeroignite wrote:My favorite element is probably Aluminum. ...being P-block means it has more interesting chemistry than the Transition Metals, even though it appears quite like them physically.
Whuh? It's essentially stuck in one of two oxidation states. How is that interesting?

I don't really have a favorite, but I like sulfur for one unusual reason; the point group into which the S8 allotrope falls contains an S8 operation. It's the only element I can think of that has this property.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:05 pm UTC
by tantalum
As an organic chemist, I would be betraying myself if I didn't say carbon was the most interesting element. You simply can't beat carbon for flexibility. The fact that all of chemistry can be divided into carbon chemistry and non-carbon chemistry says quite a bit about carbon.

As for my least favorite element.. either helium or neon. so boring. doesn't really do anything. all you can do with it is measure its physical properties.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:24 pm UTC
by BlackSails
tantalum wrote:As an organic chemist, I would be betraying myself if I didn't say carbon was the most interesting element. You simply can't beat carbon for flexibility. The fact that all of chemistry can be divided into carbon chemistry and non-carbon chemistry says quite a bit about carbon.

As for my least favorite element.. either helium or neon. so boring. doesn't really do anything. all you can do with it is measure its physical properties.


Helium is awesome! It turns into a quantum superfluid at low temperatures. Can carbon do that?

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:28 pm UTC
by Luthen
I'm not sure what my favourite is, I like most of the ones mentioned cause they're so abundant.

But... I'm going to say technetium because it is radioactive. It's radioactive all on its own. Why?

Least favourite is probably fire stupidly named heavier elements, because it has a stupid name.
Rentsy wrote:I suppose I find Boron boring.
You sicken me.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:53 pm UTC
by kernelpanic
Today I asked some people at school about this. I got:

Favorites:
Samarium
Francium (ugh)
Gold
Hydrogen

Least favorites:
Molybdenum
Zinc
Gallium
Helium (why? It's funny!)

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:36 am UTC
by headprogrammingczar
Unobtanium! The perfect solution to any problem!

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:00 am UTC
by The Boz
I can already see Uot somewhere very low and very rightish on the table of elements :P

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:10 am UTC
by Luthen
No, it's like complex numbers. You place the real elements in a line ordered by atomic number, then you'll find that Unobtainium is located somewhere about 7 elements imaginary from uranium.

Contary to common belief Phlebotinum is not an element but actually a series like the halogens or lanthanides. It's properties have not been fully determined.

Also deitygen is found directly imaginarly up of helium.

EDIT: This periodic table amuses me

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:45 am UTC
by knight2417
tin (SN), just because of the Snapple comic. We had to do a project on this, and i managed to get the comic into my poster, but i had to translate it to french!

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:37 am UTC
by Zeroignite

That is...Odd.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:43 am UTC
by Matterwave1
BlackSails wrote:
Matterwave1 wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
Matterwave1 wrote:I like Krypton cus that's where Superman came from. :D

I dislike Arsenic, cus that'll kill u. D=


So will krypton, at the right partial pressures :evil:


Cus you run out of Oxygen to breathe?


No, the pp of oxygen remains unaffected. Krypton has a opiate-like effect at high enough pp. Also, at high enough pp it will burst your lungs


Hmmm Opiate-like effect you say... :P

Well, Krypton is still cool. :)

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:45 pm UTC
by fedexrico
Probably nitrogen, it has oh so many uses in organic chemistry and, more importantly... explosives!

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:11 pm UTC
by Whelan
My favourite is Ununoctium, because it's basically theoretical.
My least favourite is Bromine, because it causes impotence.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:22 pm UTC
by Velifer
Pb killed my uncle. Getting caught by my aunt while with another woman was just coincidence.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:02 pm UTC
by somagaze
Being from the nuclear power field, I enjoy a few specific nuclides:

F-19 becuase of how it is produced and how it decays
Ar-41...it's just fun to play with
Xe-138, Kr-88...fission, it's FANTASTIC!

The one I despise, however, is Co-60...that little bastard will stick with you for ~30 years if you accidentaly ingest it...

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:10 pm UTC
by You, sir, name?
Gallium and Arsenic make a great team. I don't like Silicon and Germanium. They're not as cool. Damn knockoffs.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:28 pm UTC
by Ended
My favourites are:

1. Hydrogen: because stars are made of it. Also because you can solve its Schrödinger equation analytically.
2. Gallium: because holding molten metal in your hand without visiting hospital shortly afterwards is basically awesome.

My least favourites are:

1. Lithium: because it's like Potassium for wimps.
2. Krypton: because it should be so much less boring than it actually is.

Re: What's your favorite element? and the one you hate the most?

Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:20 am UTC
by Jorpho
I'm rather fond of the Periodic Table of Science Fiction myself. Ingenious. And we haven't mentioned The Periodic Table of Rejected Elements yet, have we?

I used to be rather taken with technectium. Nobody could tell me what the heck a radioactive element was doing there right smack in the middle of the transition elements.

thecommabandit wrote:Vanadium has a cool name, loads of oxidations states which all make pretty colours, and uranium can be used to make glass that fluoresces a lurid green under UV light.
I second this, particularly the cool name.

Meteorswarm wrote:I dislike antimony, for no particular reason.
It has a symbol Sb, and it's called Antimony. What more reason do you need!?

At least Wolfram is easy to remember.