Chemical Poems: Unbihexium

Chemical Poems: Unbihexium

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.

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Unbihexium

Calculations concerning the origin of the universe show that unbihexium is a “primordial superheavy element”, meaning that it was formed in supernova explosions in a very early period. Further calculations show that an isotope of this element, having 126 protons and 184 neutrons, should have a high stability and that large amounts of this isotope must have been present when the earth was formed.

It is assumed that giant monazite halos, seen in a black mica called biotite, derive from the decay of this element [1]. Other supposed traces of its decay are found in meteorites, namely Angra dos Reis in Brasil, Kapoeta in Sudan, Toluca in Mexico, El Taco in Argentina, and Nakhala in Egypt [2].

Present experimental plans for the production of element 126 are the nuclear fusion of hafnium with xenon, palladium with bromine, and thorium with krypton.

[1] R. V. Gentry et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 1976, 37, 11–15.

[2] N. Bhandari et al., Nature 1971, 230, 219–224.

 

You blossomed
in ancient times
in the burst
of exploding
stars.
Now people are searching
for your ashes on Earth,
in giant halos of mica
and in stones
from the sky.

And there are
also those
who are striving
to see you blossom
among us,
as a tiny star,
with Hafnium
and a beam
of Xenon,
right here
in the lab.

 


Professor Mario Markus

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology, Dortmund, Germany.
www.mariomarkus.com

 

Chemical Poems – One On Each Element,Mario Markus 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.
https://doi.org/10.1002/chemv.201300010

The poems have also been published in German in:

 

See all poems published so far by ChemistryViews.

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