The Periodic Table: 3 Super Cool Elemental Names


Whilst names are an addictive hobby for me, alas, chemistry is my true love in life. I’ve occasionally combined both passions before on this blog, and now has come the time to have another delve.

This time, we’re looking at the names of three elements which all have a striking potential to double up as names for little ‘uns too. At least, that’s what this crazy scientist believes.

1. Astatine

Remember the epic that was little Luna Thurman-Busson’s full name? It included the names Altalune and Arkadina, and for some reason Astatine makes me think of both of those names. The reason it sounds an awful lot like a name is that is is derived, like many names, from Greek origins and means unstable. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Astatine is a radioactive element, and notably none of it’s isotopes last very long due to it being highly unstable.

2. Neon

A little boy by the name of Neon has recently hit the headlines here in the UK, and I spent the first day or so believing his name was Leon until I eventually saw his name written out in a newspaper article and finally had to accept that he was indeed called Neon. The name comes from Greek and means new one.

Neon is what is known as a noble gas, sitting pretty and smug in the final group of the periodic table with a full outer shell of electrons. Unlike Astatine, Neon is likely to be known outside the close-knit chemistry world, since it’s also used to refer to certain fluorescent colours, too.

3. Cadmium

There’s a children’s book by Hilary McKay which revolves around a family where all four children are named after colours: Cadmium Gold ‘Caddy‘, Indigo (a dude); Saffron ‘Saffy’ and Permanent Rose ‘Rose‘. With Addy an increasingly popular nickname, the option of Caddy must appeal to some.

The element was named after and Ancient Greek fellow by the name of Cadmus who has been credited with being the inventor of the alphabet.

Categories: Chemistry Inspirations | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Periodic Table: 3 Super Cool Elemental Names

  1. I think I prefer Neo to Neon, but Astatine and Cadmium are fascinating ideas for names! Astatine particularly – I could see it working well for a girl, perhaps going by Asta or Aster for short 🙂


  2. Cadmium I’m not sold on, personally, because it makes me think of Cadbury Cremes, delcious Easter chocolate. And Neon is definitely out there, but that little boy is awful cute (I totally read British papers online and know his story. Very interesting.) Astatine, though…I can totally see it. Asta is a name, and -tine an accepted suffix. Someone will do it, eventually, I’m sure!


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