To date, 118 chemical elements have been found. Professor Mario Markus, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany, takes a look at each element, presenting a poem based on its natural properties along with a scientific overview of each element.
All 118 poems – as well as some poems about elements that only exist in theoretical simulations – are published in the book Chemical Poems: One On Each Element by Mario Markus. ChemViews Magazine publishes a selection of these poems.
Silvery-white metal. Density: 11.72 g/cm3. The name comes from the Scandinavian god Thor. In the early applications of X-rays, which were discovered in 1895, thorium oxide was injected to improve the observation of blood flow in some organs ("Thorotrast" method). Subsequently, many patients became ill with cancer. It was also used as additive in toothpaste. Only in 1898, seventy years after the discovery of thorium by Jöns Berzelius in 1828, did Marie Curie and Gerhard Carl Schmidt show that it is radioactive.
 H. Keppler, P. J. Wyllie, Nature 1990, 348, 531–533.
Professor Mario Markus
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany.
Dos Madres Press 2013.
Perfectbound, 308 pages, English, $30
The poems have also been published in German in:
See all poems published so far by ChemViews Magazine.
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