Chemical Poems: Roentgenium

Chemical Poems: Roentgenium

Author: Mario Markus

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.




Roentgenium (Eka-Gold)

Radioactive metal. It was discovered in 1994 by the group of Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg at the Institute GSI in Darmstadt, Germany. The discovery took place shortly before the Christmas holidays, while the scientists were still dealing with the press after the discovery of the element No. 110, i.e., Darmstadtium [1]. Only three atoms of element No. 111 were observed by shooting nickel at a target of bismuth. The element was named after Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, the discoverer of X-rays.

The first observed isotope had a half-life of 1.5 milliseconds. Later on, isotopes with 3.6 seconds half-life were produced, which is a sufficiently long time to perform chemical experiments. It was found that, as predicted by the periodic table, roentgenium is similar to gold, thus dissolving in cyanides and producing roentgenides, the latter having similar properties as aurides, i.e. gold salts [2].

[1] D. C. Hoffman et al., The Transuranium People, Imperial College Press, 2000.

[2] S. Hofmann, On Beyond Uranium, Taylor and Francis, 2002.


southern Germany:
Nickel ions are shot
at a target of Lead.
is observed
for the first time ever.
Journalists. Champagne.
Christmas is getting closer.
Some want, before leaving,
to exchange the Lead
for Bismuth.
Others yearn
to finally

They decide
to stay a bit longer,
change the target
adjust the device.
Christmas gets closer.
Roentgenium appears.

Three atoms
similar to gold,
three Magi
into view.


Professor Mario Markus, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany.


Mario Markus Chemical Poems; one On Each Element

Chemical Poems – One On Each Element,

Mario Markus,

Dos Madres Press 2013.

ISBN: 978-1-933675-98-5

Perfectbound, 308 pages, English, $30



Interview with Mario Markus:   Poetry and Chemistry,
ChemistryViews 2013.

The poems have also been published in German in:


See all poems published so far by ChemViews Magazine.



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