Chemical Poems: Ununseptium

Chemical Poems: Ununseptium

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.





When the book was written, this element had not yet been discovered. Attempts to view it were being made through astronomical observations of supernovas, i.e., exploding stars.

However, during a revision of the manuscript of the book, it became known that eka-astatine was detected in Dubna, Russia, by shooting calcium at berkelium for 150 days. Five atoms, having a half-life of 14 milliseconds, and one atom with a half-life of 78 milliseconds were registered. This finding is still awaiting confirmation by other groups and a study of the properties of the element.



At this very moment
there is
in a distant star.
A glance at the table
its family resemblance:
it’s Astatine’s brother,
Bismuth’s uncle, Uup’s father.

One hundred seventeen
is, however, so large
that the family
means nothing.
And thus the bastard breaks
even the bond
between him
and what we guess.

We can only say:
There is Eka-Astatine
in a star somewhere.
The star,
has not been seen.


The phone just rang.
It was my proofreader:
one hundred seventeen
was sighted last week.
In a star?
No, down by the river,
the Volga.
even poems die.


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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