Category Archives: physics

Elemental places

A surprising number of chemical elements are named for places. (Well, it surprised me, anyway.) Many of the elements that have been identified since the late 18th century are named for their places of discovery. Would you have guessed that more of these elements are named for Scandinavia or Scandinavian cities than for any other geographical location? One… Read More »

The Magnetes legacy

Somewhere in Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series of novels, I ran across a reference to a city called Magnesia. For some reason, those old names tend to start running around in my head whenever I encounter them, creating a pleasing atmosphere of mystery and antiquity (Illyricum, Cappadocia, Thrace, Ephesus…). However, when “Magnesia” starts running through my mind,… Read More »

Oology and other ologies

When I think of the sciences, I first think of biology, physics, chemistry…the names of subjects you can take a high school class in. Here are some finer-grained specialties within those sciences. Tribology: This term was coined relatively recently to describe the science of surfaces in contact (friction, lubrication, and wear). It comes from the Greek verb meaning… Read More »