Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Memorizing the Periodic Table’s Elements Antimony (51) through Rhenium (75) by Atomic Number

This is the third in a series of four blogs on using Mnemonic's Phonetic Peg System in memory story form to memorize the elements Antimony through Rhenium by their atomic number. Unlike using verbal rote memorization these visual memory stories should last our memory much longer, possibly a lifetime. Also, for more long-term memory word association purposes, I've included information about the element's word part meanings and a few common, academic, scientific, and/or medical words that share the same word parts.

Antimony (51), Peg (light), symbol (Sb), originally called L. stibium. Etymology of antimony is uncertain but possibly from anti- "against, opposite, curative" + -mon- "one, single" or in a sense "not found unalloyed".

Memory Story: [You're in the novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.] You're on the sub (Sb) Nautilus cruising over the bottom of the sea above numerous sunken ships when Captain Nemo turns on the light to let you see the money and treasures strewn everywhere. You want to stop and fill the sub with money but Nemo's anti-money (Antimony) and you continue on your way to your next hapless victim.

Tellurium (52), Peg (lion), symbol (Te) from L. tellus, earth [Tellus, Roman Religion, goddess of the earth, especially sown fields]

Memory Story: You're in the story
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,
Chronicles of Narnia.
You're one of the Pevensie children making hot tea for all of you when you turn and say, "Tell your (Tellurium) lion it's tea (Te) time". Aslan the Lion overhears your insolence and lets you know he is the ruler of Narnia and belongs to no one.

Iodine (53), Peg (lime), symbol (I) from Gr. iodes, violet (from the color of iodine in gas form) + -ine, like, nature of, containing a substance, and word ending for halogens in the periodic table".

Memory Story: You're going on a long hike with a bunch of friends and want to keep your bottle of Iodine from breaking in your backpack so you empty out of one of those plastic limes they sell at the supermarket and paint a violet I (I) on it to let every know it's iodine and not something to be squirted in a margarita. As if you'd ever drink anything alcoholic on a long hike.

Xenon (54), Peg (lyre), symbol (Xe) from Gr. xenos, guest, foreign, foreigner [xenophobic, lit./fig. fear of anything or anyone foreign or strange, menoxenia, lit. strange menstrual condition, xenobiotic, lit. like foreign to life, xenogenic, lit. produced by a stranger, xenopthalmia, lit. foreign (substance in the) eye condition, xenium, Class. Ant. a gift given to a guest or ambassador, xenia, Bot. lit. hospitality, fig. the direct influence of pollen upon seed in the cross-pollination of certain plants]

Memory Story: [You're a guy in Ancient Greece.] Being a guest and stranger they offer you the company of
Xena, the warrior princess.
You enter her tent and she has a lyre she's strumming and looking very sexy (Xe). I'd suggest you keep your interest on her musical talents if you like your body parts in the same order when you leave the tent.

Cesium (55), Peg (lily), symbol (Cs) from L. cesius, sky blue

Memory Story: You're Mark Anthony and you still carry the image of Caesar (Cesium or Caesium) lying in state with a lily on his chest and his toga with blue edging instead of the Imperial purple, while you delivered what was supposed to be Caesar's eulogy.

It's this image you carry when you tell your army to "Seize them!" (Cesium) after the
Battles of Philippi. Unfortunately Cassius (Cs) and Brutus commit suicide before you can drag them back to Rome, have them executed, and their bodies thrown off the Tarpean Rock. Warning: Inappropriate language.
That was a chicken shit (Cs) thing they did by taking the easy way out.

Barium (56), Peg (leach), symbol (Ba) from Gr. barys, heavy because in sulfate and carbonate combinations it has a high specific gravity. [baritone, lit. heavy tone, fig. a deep male voice that registers between a bass and tenor, baryglossia, lit. heavy tongue condition, barythymia, lit heavy spirit condition]

Memory Story: (Warning: Repulsive.) Well so much for getting into the exotic food business. You've been ordered to bury (Barium) your leach bars (Barium) in the bay (Ba) by weighing them down with something heavy and throwing overboard. I guess someone didn't like the squirting experience when they bit down into one of your leach chocolate bars and called the Board of Health.

Lanthanum (57), Peg (lick), symbol (La) from Gr. lanthein, to lie hidden.

Memory Story: You're an "out to save the world" horticulturist and have been looking for a way to eradicate the very invasive lantana (Lanthanum) plant. You go to a section of Australia and lay (La) hidden in a field of lantana and sure enough it's true. Wallabies eat the stuff. You take a lick of one of the leaves and wonder how they can stomach it (let alone lick one the prickly leaves without making their skin crawl) because it's also poisonous.

Cerium (58), Peg (love and life), symbol (Ce), named for the dwarf planet Ceres which was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, [cereal]

Memory Story: It's the 1970's and you're the CEO (Ce) of Quaker Oats Cereal and want everyone to love your
Life™ cereal
(cerium). Thus far, you don't like what the guys in advertising have come up with yet. Some little boy siblings saying, "We Love Life cereal," just before they take a bite. That is until the little boys are surprised by their finicky brother, who usually won't eat anything, is munching the stuff down. Both surprised brothers yell, "He likes it! Hey Mikey!" Now those words will sell cereal and anyone named Mike will have to live with the repetitive consequences for the rest of their lives.

Praseodymium (59), Peg (lip, loop, and lab) symbol (Pr) from Gr. prasios, green + didymos, twin, from di-, two + dymus, fold, from the green oxide that develops on it. –didym- in medical terms means "having to do with didymus or testes" and the word ending –didymus means "a conjoined twin". [didymium, lit. twin (of lanthanum), didymalgia, lit. testes pain epididymis, lit. on or upon the testes, craniodidymus, lit. skull twin, miodidymus, lit. less (unequal) twin, opodidymus, lit. eye or face twin, pygodidymus, lit. buttock twin]

Memory Story: You appraise old dimes (Praseodymium) and a customer has just brought you a rare double struck dime that looks like twin dimes. [The closest image I could find on the Internet was this penny on Ebay.] You take it back to your lab, put on your loop, and examine it very carefully. Hmm, with the higher magnification you notice some green oxidation around the lip of the coin. You pry (Pr) on it a little and it comes apart at the lip. It's a fake that's been silver soldered together. That's too bad. It would have been worth a small fortune if it were genuine.

Neodymium (60), Peg (cheese), symbol Nd, from Gr. neo, new + -didymus, twin. (See Neon and Praseodymium)

Memory Story: You want to do the magic (Swiss) cheese trick so you dump all your undies (Nd) out of your top drawer because you need an old dime (Neodymium) as a prop and you remember you had a silver one in there. Great, you found it. Now you pass the old dime through a thin slice of Swiss cheese and a pair of new dimes appears. You then flip the cheese slice over, pass the two new dimes through the cheese, and four dimes appear. You continue until there's hundreds and thousands of dimes being doubled and doubled and doubled again until you create a Sorcerer's Apprentice like flood of dimes.

Promethium (61), Peg (jet), symbol Pm, named for Prometheus (lit. Forethinker, he had the gift of prophecy), a Greek man or a Titan who stole fire from Mt. Olympus and gave the fire and its secrets to man.

Memory Story: [You're a guy.] You're the Prime Minister's (Pm) son and you're taking Pam (Pm) to the prom (Prometheus) in your parent's jet this PM. As you ascend to 30 thousand feet you have a
Twilight Zone
moment and are sent way back in time. You land the jet somewhere in ancient Greece when the people are still using stone tools. You and Pam are gods to them and of course one of the first things you show them is how to make fire because you're going to be very late for dinner. Or should I say early?

Samarium (62), Peg (chain), symbol (Sm), named for samarskite, the mineral form which it was first extracted.

Memory Story: (Warning: sexually violent imagery) A samurai (Samarium) asks a sadist to whip him with a chain because he's into S & M (Sm). (Sadomasochism) - Of course you know what the sadist said to the masochist when he asked him to beat him? The sadist said, "No".

Europium (63), Peg (jam), symbol (Eu), named for Europe.

Memory Story: You just joined the Jam of the Month Club and they sent you out your first month's exotic sample from Europe (Europium). It's called Retsina jam made from the
Greek wine Retsina
which has the flavor of pine resin in it. After your first big taste you grimace followed with, "Eeeeuuuu! (Eu) I don't know if I like this stuff, especially combined with my flaxseed peanut butter from Turkey".

Gadolinium (64), Peg (chair or cheer), symbol (Gd), named for John Gadolin

Memory Story: (Warning: Blasphemy) You're in Venice and insist on sitting on a chair during your gondola (Gadolinium) ride which ends with you in the water and saying blasphemous things like G__ D__ it. (Gd) Or. You're in the movie Blackbeard's Ghost
and during the Godolphin (Gadolinium) track team's incredible feats you cheer and mutter occasional expletives like the one above. So much for its "G" rating. Or. You're making props for a movie like
Grindhouse Planet Terror and they want a gattling (Gadolinium) gun chair for one of the scenes.

Terbium (65), Peg (shell), symbol (Tb), another element named for Ytterby, Sweden.

Memory Story: You're turbine (Terbium) car sounds like it has tuberculosis (Tb) as it coughs and sputters down the street. Finally you make it to the Shell™ gas station and put some good turbine fuel in it.

Dysprosium (66), Peg (judge), symbol (Dy), from Gr. dysprositos, hard to get, from dys-, hard, bad, difficult + proso-, onwards, forward, in front + -it-, go, or hard to go forward. [dysentery, lit. bad intestine, dyslexia, lit. bad word or phrase condition, dysotosis, lit. bad bone condition] [Prosobranchia, lit. forward gills condition, prosogyrate, lit. in front rounded characteristic] [exit, lit. go out, ambient, lit. going around, fig. completely enveloping, itinerate, to travel from place to place, transition, lit. the act of going across, fig. passage from one place or state to another, abient, lit. to go away from, adient, lit. to go towards, aditus, lit. go to, access, coitus, lit. coming together, iter, lit. a way]

Memory Story: "Dispose of him", (Dysprosium) says the judge as he points at you and your new fangled dye. (Dy) It's ancient Roman times and all you did was invent a new easy way to make
Imperial or Tyrian purple
so everyone could have it without having to harvest hundreds of thousands of sea snails called a Murex. Unfortunately for you, the whole idea was to make the purple dye very hard to get except for those in the Imperial family who could afford Imperial purple cloth. Otherwise commoners and slaves would look like the Imperial family and they can't have that. So bye bye.

Holmium (67), Peg (Jack), symbol (Ho) from L. Holmia for Stockholm.

Memory Story: You're Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas and you foresee something bad coming Jack's way. "Hold me (Holmium) Jack," you plead while he imitates Santa Claus with his "(Ho), Ho, Ho".

Erbium (68), Peg (shave), symbol Er, another element named for Ytterby, Sweden

Memory Story: You create a new fertilizer and use it on your herb (Erbium) garden. The plants literally grow right before your eyes but you must have accidentally sprayed it on your legs because there's herb growing from every pore at a phenomenal rate too. They rush you to the emergency room (Er) and they shave your legs and other areas that are also starting to grow vegetation.

Thulium (69), Peg (ship), symbol (Tm), from Thule, Scandinavia. (Gr. Thoule or L. Thule, the northernmost habitable part of the world.)

Memory Story: During an evening of transcendental meditation (Tm) you visualize and develop the plans for a T-hull ship. (Thulium) With enough speed you believe the ship's hull would come up out of the water and ride as smooth as a hydrofoil and break the current US Navy's speed records.

Ytterbium (70), Peg (goose), symbol (Y), another element named for Ytterby, Sweden.

Memory Story: (Warning:
Repulsive imagery and improper language.) You're a young goose and your mother, Mother Goose, has left your brother goose in charge of you. He's warmed up your breakfast, and with a glint in his eyes slides your breakfast in front of you and says, "Eat your BM", (Ytterbium) "Why (Y) BM? This stuff looks like a goose's bowel movement or ..." "That's what it is", your brother goose says laughing. "It's SOS, or shit on a shingle".

Lutetium (71), Peg (cat), symbol (Lu), from L. Lutetia, Paris

Memory Story: You're living during the Renaissance and your friend Lucrezia (Lutetium)
sends you a cat from Paris she calls Lulu (Lu) with the most beautiful bejeweled collar. (It could be short for lullaby and goodnight if you accidentally prick your skin on a hidden needle concealed in the collar while petting Lulu.)

Hafnium (72), Peg (cone), symbol (Hf), from L. Hafnia, Copenhagen

Memory Story: (Warning: Disturbing imagery.) Thank goodness you found your friend in time. There they were half (Hafnium) dead from huffing (Hafnium, Hf) some glue they had placed in a cone and put it over their nose and mouth. They must have passed out falling back with the cone stuck to their face.

Tantalum (73), Peg (comb), symbol (Ta), from Gr. Tantalus, King of Sisyphus. [tantalize, to torment by placing something desirable within someone's grasp but keeping it just out of their reach]

Memory Story: Your friend has taught his tarantula (Tantalum) to comb his hair and now offers you the same opportunity to which you respond, "ta ta". (Ta)

Tungsten (74), Peg (cry), symbol (W for Wolfram), from Nordic tung
sten, heavy stone, and Wolfram from German wolf
rahm, wolf cream or soot.

Memory Story: Your friend is the little boy who cried wolf (Wolfram) and his punishment (kind of like in the novel The Scarlet Letter) is to have the letter W stitched on his tongue. (Tungsten) Don't worry, the stitches will come out in about two weeks but he'll never cry wolf again.

Rhenium (75), Peg (call), symbol (Re), from L. Rhenus, the Rhine

Memory Story: It's your first place and you're late on paying your rent (Rhenium) and the red hen (Rhenium) from Red Hen Real Estate (Re) has left you an impatient message on your answer machine. You call Red Hen R.E. and she answers, "Red Hen Real Estate, The sky is falling". [That really inspires a lot of R. E. investors.]