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Dysprosium

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JumpingJack
23020.  Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:18 pm Reply with quote

Dysprosium is a bright, silvery metal soft enough to be cut with a knife. It is the only naturally occurring chemical element beginning with ‘D’.

There is only one other chemical element beginning with ‘D’, the transfermium element Dubnium.

The word dysprosium comes from the Greek 'dysprositos' meaning ‘hard to get’. It was discovered by Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in Paris in 1886. He named it thus because his way of isolating it (on the marble slab of his fireplace at home) was extremely tedious and time-consuming.

Dysprosium is one of the so-called ‘rare-earth elements but the term ‘rare-earth’ is a misnomer – some ‘rare-earths’ are not rare at all. Rare-earths’ are more correctly called the lanthanides (though strictly speaking this excludes lutetium).

There are only tiny amounts of dysprosium in the human body and very little in the food chain. Only about 100 tonnes of it are mined each year. The main use of dysprosium is in halide discharge lamps where it produces a very intense light. It is also used in ceramics, particularly those used to control temperature inside nuclear reactors.

One alloy of dysprosium –Terfenol – has the remarkable property of visibly lengthening and shortening when exposed to a magnetic field.The properties of such ‘magnetostrictive’ alloys are being explored to see if they can be used to operate tiny motors, pumps and injection systems.


s: NBB

 
JumpingJack
23581.  Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:59 pm Reply with quote

So, no takers on dysprosium, eh?

C'maaan.

 
eggshaped
23609.  Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:25 am Reply with quote

At your request JJ (although it is admittedly a little tenuous).

Dysprosium was indeed discovered by Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, a French spectroscopist who was the heir to a wine-making company in Cognac. The first element he discovered was Gallium, which of course was named after France. Or was it?

According to Isaac Asimov’s book of facts, Lecoq de Boisbaudran was more than a little vain. Knowing that it was not the done thing for one to name a new discovery after himself, he cunningly called the element gallium, not after the country in which it was discovered, but rather it was a play on his name.

Lecoq is French for “the rooster”, which, when translated into Latin is “gallus”

Now the only question is, “is Asimov an unimpeachable source?”

 
Flash
23696.  Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:16 am Reply with quote

Asimov is also the source for the often-repeated story about an Arab scholar who trained the camels who carried his books to walk in alphabetical order, and that doesn't sound very reliable to me.

 
DELETED
46356.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 1:52 pm Reply with quote

DELETED

 
mckeonj
46402.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:47 pm Reply with quote


No, Babylon. or Babel.

 
djgordy
46411.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:14 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Asimov is also the source for the often-repeated story about an Arab scholar who trained the camels who carried his books to walk in alphabetical order, and that doesn't sound very reliable to me.


Since Arab script is written right to left did he also teach the camels to walk backwards?

 
Caradoc
46440.  Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:26 pm Reply with quote

djgordy wrote:

Since Arab script is written right to left did he also teach the camels to walk backwards?


No he just stood on the other side of the caravan

 

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