Atomic Mass: 278ish amu
Melting Point: nobody knows
Boiling Point: nobody knows
After several months without Elements -- and yet with so many Elements that still need months! -- we return to the fray with Meitnerium. It is an unfortunate choice, in that it is a highly fakey Element. The synthetics don't really have much personality, since they don't really exist in a meaningful way, and I kind of feel like I've said all I have to say about them. But we'll try to be brave, here.
Don't feel bad if you don't know about Meitnerium. Neither does the blogger.com spellchecker. On the Sporcle Elements Quiz, a favorite dorky pastime of mine, it is the second least identified Element, trailing only Roentgenium. Unless you are fairly youngish and went to a well-funded high school, you probably never even saw it on the periodic table. It was only synthesized in 1982, and the usual international wrangling over naming rights was only resolved in 1997.
|Just kidding, of course. This is actually Iridium.|
The Wiki says that Meitnerium is the only element named specifically after a non-mythological woman. Now, if you're like me, you're all like "That's BULLSHIT, man, what about Curium?!?" Well, I guess that's what the word "specifically" is in there for, as it turns out that Curium is named in honor of Pierre and Marie Curie both. Yeah, whatever. Pierre Curie. Who's he?
Who, for that matter, is Meitner? Lise Meitner was part of the three-person research team, along with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, who discovered nuclear fission. Modern thinking, at least as expressed in internet articles about Lise Meitner, seems to hold that she was the real brains of the outfit, but fans of Hahn or Strassmann might debate that. There is a general consensus that she was screwed out of the Nobel Prize because she was a girl, but hopefully that was made up for by an almost endless list of other accolades that were heaped on her in her long and productive late career. And hell, getting a fakey Element named after yourself is really the icing on the atomic cake.
I would try to figure out what non-non-mythological woman or women have an Element named after them, but it's getting kind of late. How about one of you all figure it out and post it in the comments.
|"Meitnerium," by roberthirst-art on redbubble.com.|