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.

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