Friday, June 25, 2010

Memorizing the Alkali Metal’s Order

In this memory story we're going to memorize the Periodic Table's Group One Alkali metal's order, along with the element hydrogen. We're also going to include other little scientific tidbits in our memory story listed here.

The Alkali Metals' group in decending order are: Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium, Francium.

Hydrogen (hydr- means "water", as in hydrant, Hydra, anhydrous, etc.)

Lithium (lith- means "stone" as in monolith, lithograph, lithotome, etc.]

Sodium (originally called Natrium from natron, native sodium carbonate, symbol Na) (I left out this extra information because it took too much space in the story. Memory stories are better if their short.)

Potassium from potash or pot of ashes, a way to make potash from a wood ash mixture being cooked in a pot. (originally called Kalium, -kali-, word part in alkali, symbol K)

Rubidium (rubi- meaning "ruby red", for its red spectrum line, as in ruby, rubric, rubescence, etc.)

Cesium (cesi- meaning "sky blue" for its two blue spectrum lines)

Francium (frank- means "free", as in frank, frankincense, franchise, France, etc.)

[For those who know mnemonics' phonetic system, the word "suit" in this story stands for s1 or the outside electron configuration of Hydrogen and the Alkali Metals.]

Memory Story: [I'll let you decide which well known character you are.] You're a tomb raider and you're trying to get inside a very secret cave where an ancient religious cult is up to something sinister. As you approach the cave a nine headed water snake called a Hydra (Hydrogen) comes out of the swamp next to the entrance and just misses taking your head off. In the ensuing battle you manage to cut off one of the Hydra's heads and as you attempt to cauterize it like Hercules did in his story, this time the Hydra goes up in a giant fireball. (Just like hydrogen would.)

(Now we start the alkali metals part of the story.)

Thinking you can relax for a moment, a cult follower (Who was waiting for the Hydra to finish you off.) wearing a gray metal suit runs at you yelling "I'll kill you!" (alkali) You barely manage to dodge him but he grazes your mouth with his elbow, trips, and falls headlong into the swamp. He comes up out of the water but his metal suit begins to hiss and sputter and then explosively blows himself to kingdom come. He meant to take you with him and become a martyr for the cause.

Spitting some blood and a broken front tooth from your broken lips you just manage to mumble the secret words that will open the cave door but nothing happens. You try again lisping louder but speaking more clearly, "Lithen (Lithium) thone! Open thethame!" The giant stone moves gently to the side revealing a beautiful cave of sodium chloride (salt) crystals and pools of different colored waters bubbling and spewing like thousands of streams of hot soda (Sodium). With your usual temerity you go deep inside the cave towards a light where the sounds of whips lashing against skin and horrified screams are coming from.

There in the dim light of burning torches in a cavern you discover hundreds of slaves making potash (Potassium) by boiling down metal pots full of wood ashes. When the potash is finished the slaves are taking it somewhere up further ahead.

Skulking along a precarious ledge above the cavern you follow the slaves and learn they're taking the dried potash and are using it to sculpt a giant sculpture of Kali, (kalium K) the multi-armed Hindu goddess of death and destruction, in a larger and better lit cavern that is used for some type of religious ceremony.

In Kali's forehead is the fist-sized ruby (Rubidium) you've come for. Although it appears to be a jewel carved from metal it has a brilliant glowing red line running through it.

When the coast is clear you use your whip and nimbly climb the statue. You just manage to get to the forehead of Kali, extract the jewel, and place it in your leather pouch when a voice from below you yells "Seize him!" (Cesium) Looking below you see the cult leader dressed like Caesar in a flowing metal toga with two brilliantly reflective sky blue lines of shiny metal running the full length of his metal clothing.

To make the story of your daring escapade short, with your usual skill and fortunate accidents you manage to free everyone, blow up the cave, the Kali leader and his cult, and are now on an airplane on your way to France (Francium) to meet a curator and show him your prize which you'll donate to the museum free of charge; of course.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Memorizing the Periodic Table’s Elements Osmium (76) through Meitnerium (109) by Atomic Number

This is the fourth in a series of four blogs on using Mnemonic's Phonetic Peg System in memory story form to memorize the elements Osmium (76) through Meitnerium (109), by their atomic number. Unlike using verbal rote memorization these visual memory stories should last our memory much longer and possibly a lifetime with occasional use. Also, for more long-term memory word association purposes, I've included information about the element's word part meanings where applicable and a few common, academic, scientific, and/or medical words that share the same word parts.

Osmium (76), Peg (coach) symbol (Os), from Gr. osme, smell, from osmium tetroxide's having a very strong odor [osmesis, lit. the state, act, or process of smelling, osmidrosis, lit. smelly sweat condition, osmology, lit. the study of odors, osmiophilic, lit. osmic acid loving, Coprosoma, lit. feces smell, Bot. a genus of shrubs and trees that smell like the name says it does]

Memory Story: You're team is going into outer space (Os) and your Cosmos (Osmium) coach bares a distinct resemblance to
Ozzie Osbourne
(Os). The first time you all get launched into outer space some of you have an accident so things are a bit smelly but your coach says it happens all the time so don't concern yourselves or be embarrassed.

Iridium (77), Peg (cake), symbol (Ir), from Gr. Iris, Iridis, the goddess of the rainbow with the word part irid- meaning "relating to the iris of the eye or iridescent like a rainbow", because many of Iridium's salts are strongly colored. [iridescence, lit. becoming rainbow (colored), fig. many colored appearance like that of a rainbow, iridesis, lit. iris binding, iridocele, lit. iris hernia, iridosteresis, lit. loss of the iris condition, Iridovirus, lit. iris (iridescent) virus]

Memory Story: You're in charge of the Pasadena Rose Parade float and your crews have been working days and nights on the giant cake that's decorated with millions of iris petals and giant irises. It's early morning and time to get everyone in place. "I ride (Iridium) at the top," says Iris, one of the pretty young ladies who will adorn your cake. You're about to place the very colorfully dressed Iris on one of the lower tiers of the cake using a lift but she insists on going higher (Ir).

Platinum (78), Peg (cave), symbol (Pt), from Sp. Platina, little silver.

Memory Story: You take a part time (Pt) job retrieving old Spanish plates of platinum out of an underwater cave in Central America. The job's really dangerous but it pays three thousand dollars an hour and the retirement benefits are great. If you live long enough to collect them, that is.

Gold (79), Peg (cup), symbol (Au), from L. aureum, glow of sunrise, and gold from Anglo-Saxon gold, from L. geolo, yellow. [auriferous, lit. gold bearing, fig. gold bearing ore, oriole, auric, lit. relating to gold, aurochromoderma, lit. gold colored skin, Auric Goldfinger, a James Bond arch-villain]

Memory Story: "Ah, (Au) a cup of gold", you sigh as you pull the beautiful jewel encrusted golden cup from the treasure chest you're rifling through.

Mercury (80), Peg (vase or face), symbol (Hg), named after the Roman god Mercury who was the god's messenger and known for his swiftness. The Hg comes from hydrargarum from –hydr-, water or runny in a sense, + argarum, silver, hence Mercury's other name "quicksilver". [for hydr- see Hydrogen] [Argentina, argentation, lit. silver processor condition, argyria, lit. silver condition, litharge, lit. silver stone]

Memory Story: Like Sleeping Beauty, a hag (Hg) offers you a vase of Mercury and tells you it will cure all that ails you. If you do take it, it will cure all your ills; permanently. Or. It's ancient Roman times and you look into the face of a hag (Hg) who has come to give you a message from the gods. There's something odd about her face but you don't believe her. To make the point more terrifying she/he dissembles himself to appear before you as the colossal Mercury like in the movie Jason and the Argonauts.

Thallium (81), Peg (fight), symbol (Tl), from Gr. thallos, green shoot or twig, because of Thallium's bright green spectrum emission lines. [thallospore, lit. green shoot seeds, thallotoxicosis, lit. thallium toxic condition, thallus, lit. a green shoot]

Memory Story: You're at school and there's a fight in the hall (Thallium) between two guys. No one will tell (Tl) the teacher it's going on. That is until they crash into the science class's seed starter mini-greenhouse and destroy all the new green saplings.

Lead (82), Peg (phone), symbol (Pb) from L. plumbum, lead, and the word lead is Anglo-Saxon. [plumbing, lit. working with lead, plumb, to prove the work vertical, as a wall, using a lead ball, plummet, noun, a little piece of lead attached to a line, verb, to fall straight down like a plummet, plunge, lit. to fall like lead, fig. to drop steeply, aplomb, lit. perpendicularity, fig. self-possession, assurance, plombage, lit. lead work, plumbago, lit. black lead, plumbic, lit. relating to lead, plumbism, lit. lead condition]

Memory Story: You go to the local pub (Pb) to use the phone and it's a private phone booth made with lead pipes by the local plumber's union who patronize the pub after work.

Bismuth (83), Peg (foam), symbol (Bi) from New Latin bisemutum from German Wismuth which may mean "white mass".

Memory Story: You're in WWII and watching the German battleship Bismarck (Bismuth) sink in a turbulent sea of foam and burning oil. Bye (Bi) Bismarck.

Polonium (84), Peg (fire), symbol (Po), named after Poland, the discoverer Marie Sktodowska-Curie's homeland.

Memory Story: You're first day on the job as a volunteer fireman and your instructor, who bears an uncanny resemblance to
Edgar Allan Poe, (Po) instructs you in the proper way to go down the fire pole. (Polonium)

Astatine (85), Peg (fly), symbol (At) from Gr. astatos, unstable, from a-, not, without + -stat-, stand, stand still, remain standing, to place + -ine, substance [state, statue, aerostat, lit. stand (in the) air, fig. a stationary balloon, bacteriostat, lit. bacteria standing still (agent), barostat, lit. pressure standing (body structure), hemostat, lit. blood standing still, statoconia, lit. standing dust condition, statokinetics, lit. standing movement]

Memory Story: The unfortunate scientist from the movie
The Fly
taps you on your shoulder and asks the time. (Astatine) Out of the corner of your eye you saw his claw so without turning around you say "At (At) the tone the time will be…." as you run like hell.

Radon (86), Peg (fish), symbol (Rn) from L. radix, root + -on, noble gas ending in the periodic table. The word part –rad-, -radi- can mean "root, something shaped like a root, rays, or tentacles". [radish, radio, eradicate, lit. to root out, fig. to pull out by the roots, radiate, lit. to make rays, fig. to emit rays, radical, lit. relating to roots, fig. proceeding directly from the root, radicle, lit. a diminutive root, radicotomy, lit. root incision, radius, lit. a ray, radix, lit. root, steradian, lit. solid radius]

Memory Story: [ Like in the beginning of the movie Godzilla 1998 but this time with a different Japanese monster.] You're fishing next to a registered nurse (Rn) on the pier. You're talking about nothing in particular when she gets a bite; A BIG BITE but it's not a fish. Rodan (Radon) comes out of the water and just misses you but snatches the RN.

Francium (87), Peg (fake and an expletive), symbol (Fr) from the word France, its place of discovery. [frankincense, lit./fig. free or pure incense, frank, lit. free, fig. free in speaking one's real sentiments, franchise, lit. to make free, orig. freedom from servitude, pres. a right or privilege, usually the right to vote]

Memory Story: (Warning: Bad language.) Your favorite fast food restaurant is giving away free fake French (Francium) Fries (Fr) with every hamburger. They taste and chew like plastic. You take them up to the manager and tell them they can F#@$ their free fake French fries and some other expletive language about anatomically impossible things they can do with their food because they've ruined your favorite place to eat.

Radium (88), Peg (five or fife), symbol (Ra) (see Radon)

Memory Story: It's the 60's and you love the new state of the art stereophonic sound but want even more reality. You place five
radios at the points of an M (Radium) around your room so it will send rays (Ra) of sound to an ideal point in the central section of the M and give you more of a surround sound feeling. It doesn't work because it's only monaural. Too bad you didn't keep working on the idea because you could have gotten rich.

Actinium (89), Peg (phobia), symbol (Ac) from Gr. aktinos, ray. Word part actin- means "ray, radiation, or having radiating parts". [Actinobacillus, lit. radiating little rods, actinochemistry, obsolete term for radiochemistry, Actinomyces, lit. radiated fungus]

Memory Story: You've had an acting (Actinium) phobia ever since you played the part of alternating current (AC) in a science play in the fourth grade and shocked the holy bejeebers out of yourself during your "electric chair" part.

Thorium (90), Peg (bus), symbol (Th) from Thor, Scandinavian god of war

Memory Story: It's Mythology Week at school and you spent a month creating a beautiful Trojan horse (Th) model. You ever so carefully get on the school bus gingerly making sure not to bump you model. At the next stop your friend has dressed up as Thor, god of war. He has this over sized helmet he can barely see out of and huge unwieldy hammer. Just as he gets next to you he stumbles and Thor's hammer smashes your Trojan horse into a thousand pieces. "Oops, thorry", (Thorium) [Oh yea, I forgot to tell you, your friend has a lisp.]

Protactinium (91), Peg (body), symbol (Pa) from proto-, first or highest in rank + actinium, meaning "first beam or ray element. [see Actinium]

[protein, Protozoa, lit. first animal, fig. unicellular animal phylum, prototype, lit. first type, fig. an original model, protanopia, lit. first without eye condition, prototroph, lit. first nourishment, protogonoplasm, lit. first seed formation, Prototheca, lit. first box]

Memory Story: You receive great pay (Pa) for wearing a body protector (Protactinium) and letting police canines attack you. Or. You protect (Protactinium) the body of famous politicians, rock stars, and supermodels for exorbitant pay (Pa).

Uranium (92), Peg (ban), symbol (U) named after the planet Uranus and Greek Myth's god of the sky or heavens from Gr. ouranos, the sky, heaven. Interestingly enough the word part uran-, urano- also means the roof of the mouth or hard palate. [brachyuranic, lit. short hard palate, uranoplasty, lit. hard palate surgical formation]

Memory Story: (Warning: Very Freudian) You are Cronus, the son of Uranus, (Uranium) and after cutting off the testicles of your father and casting them into the sea you (U) order Uranus banned to the sky to never touch your mother Gaia, (Earth) again. [Before his banishment the sky, Uranus, would come down from the heavens and ravish the earth, Gaia, every night.]

Neptunium (93), Peg (bum), symbol (Np), named after the planet Neptune, from Roman Mythology, the god of the sea.

Memory Story: You're down by the ocean taking a walk on the beach and here comes that beach bum Neptune asking for a handout so he can get a nip (Np) of booze from the local bar. He's been out of work for almost two thousand years ever since he lost his pagan patronage.

Plutonium (94), Peg (bury), symbol (Pu), named after the planet Pluto, from Roman Mythology, the god of Hades or the underworld.

Memory Story: Peyoo. (Pu) Pluto (Plutonium) smells like a lot of things died and you need to bury him somewhere quick.

[As a memory aid, Uranium, Neptunium, and Plutonium are in planetary order. Of course that was before Pluto was reclassified as being a dwarf planet.]

Americium (95), Peg (ball), symbol (Am), named after America.

Memory Story: It's Saturday or Sunday A.M (Am) in America (Americium) and most TV's are tuned to a ball game.

Curium (96), Peg (beach), symbol (Cm), named after Marie and Pierre Curie.

Memory Story: You're very ill and have been sent by your doctor to take the beach Cure. (Curium) Your therapy involves every inch of your body being coated with precisely a centimeter (Cm) of sticky beach sand containing a radioactive substance while you lay on the beach.

Berkelium (97), Peg (puck and bike), symbol (Bk), named after Berkeley, CA where it was first synthesized.

Memory Story: You're going to
UC Berkeley
on a sports (hockey) scholarship. Even though you're fully suited up, skates, pads, helmet, and all, you're late to meet a teammate for hockey practice and ride your bike (Bk) onto the hockey rink. Quickly, you drop the puck on the ice and comment to your fellow teammate, "Brrr Kelly, (Berkelium) it sure is cold in here."

Californium (98), Peg (Puff the Magic Dragon), symbol Cf, named after being synthesized at Berkeley, California.

Memory Story: Your pet, Puff the "Magic Dragon", is surfing the waves at California (Californium) but instead of using a surfboard he has to use the side of a Consolidated Freightways (Cf) trailer you altered for him by welding on a big skag and making some shape changes using a sledge hammer. Of course Puff supplied the side of the trailer which he found parked by the pier.

Einsteinium (99), Peg (puppy), symbol Es, named after Albert Einstein.

Memory Story: Your puppy Einstein (Einsteinium) is easy (Es) to train because he's so smart.

Fermium (100), Peg (disease), symbol Fm, named after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi.

Memory Story: "Do not fear my (Fermium) disease," says the FM (Fm) radio talk show host. His disease being raving paranoia.

Mendelevium (101), Peg (test), symbol Md, named after Dimitri Ivanovich Mendeleev, creator of the periodic table.

Memory Story: Your friend, the great, great, grandson of
is mad (Md) because he flunked the Periodic Table test in chemistry. [Yes, your friend looks just like his ancestor and is a little bit too old to still be in school.] Or. Trying to become a medical doctor (Md) your friend got mad during a chemistry test and walked out with the professor calling out to him, "Men don't leave my (Mendelevium) tests".

Nobelium (102), Peg (design), symbol No, named after Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite

Memory Story: You've gone to Sweden in the 1930's to help design the Nobel Peace Prize medal . Unbelievably the other designers want to put a bell on it. When asked for your artistic opinion about the design you vehemently tell them, "No bells! (Nobelium) No, no, no." (No)

Lawrencium (103), Peg (toss me), symbol Lr, named for nuclear physicist Ernest O. Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron.

Memory Story: You're working in a video store and putting away Lawrence of Arabia DVDs. "Toss me the discs", you tell a fellow employee as you stand on a ladder. You grab them like a juggler, left, right, (Lr) left, right, and smoothly stack the DVDs away on the top shelf.

Rutherfordium (104), Peg (desire and dozer), symbol Rf, named for Ernest Rutherford, "father" of nuclear physics.

Memory Story: You'd rather have the Ford (Rutherfordium) Mustang with the
Rat Fink
painted (Rf) on the hood to drive to school but you can't have your heart's desire so you're stuck with the bulldozer your parents make you drive It's slow but everyone gets out of your way, or else.

Dubnium (105), Peg (diesel), symbol Db, named after Dubna, Russia.

Memory Story: You're the sound engineer for the latest
Vin Diesel
movie and are dubbing in (Dubnium) in jets, cars, bridges, and whatever being destroyed with volume levels that will measure 180 decibels (Db) in the theater. Cool. (180 decibels is equivalent to a rocket launching pad and a level where severe hearing loss will occur.)

Seaborgium (106), Peg (dosage), symbol Sg, named for the American chemist, Glenn T. Seaborg.

Memory Story: You're treating sick sea birds (Seaborgium) whose bills sag (Sg) from some mysterious disease and you're looking up the proper dosage. Let's see; sea gulls (Sg), sea gulls, aha, sea gulls.

Bohrium (107), Peg (tusk), symbol Bh, named for the Danish physicist, Neils Bohr.

Memory Story: You narrowly miss being gored by the tusk of a wild boar (Bohrium) but managed to bash (Bh) him in the head just in time.

Hassium (108), Peg (adhesive), symbol Hs, from the Latin name for the German State of Hesse.

Memory Story: You're out flying your helium balloon when you hear a hiss (Hs) coming from the hose (Hs) you use to fill up the balloon. It's a hassle (Hassnium) to repair it with the adhesive you have but you manage patch it before crashing to the earth.

Meitnerium (109), Peg (hot soup), symbol Mt, named for the Austrian physicist Lise Meitner.

Memory Story: You're a mountaineer (Meitnerium) and when climbing a mountain (Mt) covered with snow you look forward to the hot soup you'll get at the end of the climb that day.