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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« A Meditation on Solvents | Main | Walk Around Some »

April 14, 2008

Fifteen Minutes Shot

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Posted by Derek

If today's post didn't waste enough of your time, here's another way to carve something out of the economy: name all the elements, in any order but correctly spelled, in fifteen minutes.

I scored a 97 - forgot some of the more recently-named transition metals, and I didn't even bother with the placeholder names for 112 and up. Enjoy - and if you score higher than I did, don't forget to note that fact in the comments. Not that I have to tell anyone. . .

Comments (17) + TrackBacks (0) | Category:


1. cookingwithsolvents on April 14, 2008 8:23 AM writes...

89 in 8 mins 9 seconds b/c I gave up trying to spell some of the Lanthanide/Actinide elements.

Like....Praseody[b]M[/b]ium? grrrr...

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2. anon on April 14, 2008 8:38 AM writes...

Tom Lehrer could do it.

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3. anon on April 14, 2008 9:30 AM writes...

79. Blanked on some common ones: arsenic, cadmium

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4. Sleepless in SSF on April 14, 2008 10:47 AM writes...

I am too embarrassed to repeat my score. Suffice it to say, I missed cesium, barium, two of the noble gases, several of the transition metals and all of the lanthanides except lanthanum (which I couldn't spell). I fear for my cognitive functions; is this what Alzheimer's feels like? I can't help but think that this is the legacy of spending all my time working in protein biochemistry over the past 10 years -- the only elements that exist are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and occasionally selenium. Ack!

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5. Bruce Grant on April 14, 2008 12:53 PM writes...

Tickled that someone other than this old fossil remembered Tom Lehrer's wonderful "The Elements" (sung to the tune of "Modern Major General"). Here's an even niftier video of it...

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6. Bruce Grant on April 14, 2008 12:56 PM writes...


*Here's* the link...

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7. Ron on April 14, 2008 1:12 PM writes...

Scored an 89. The only non-f-block elements I missed were the recently named transition metals, bismuth, and thallium. Missed a lot of the f-block metals, though.

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8. Fred on April 14, 2008 1:19 PM writes...

Well, that certainly defines geek.

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9. Yttrai on April 14, 2008 2:55 PM writes...

I didn't do so hot (87) but, shockingly enough, i got Yttrium, Ytterbium, Erbium, and Terbium. Also Gadolinium, which makes sense if you know why i got the four listed above.

Does that qualify me as geekiest username yet?


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10. syregnask on April 14, 2008 3:07 PM writes...

110 of 111 attempted in 12:27 - I misspelled beryllium (as berylium).

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11. Greg Hlatky on April 14, 2008 6:47 PM writes...

Mnemonic for the lanthanides:

Caesar pays no poor soldiers except Gauls that defeated his earnest though youthful legions.

Mnemonic for the actinides:

The poor urchins never purloin apples cultivated by crafty escapees from medieval noble lords.

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12. Sili on April 14, 2008 7:20 PM writes...

I got a laughable 87. Most of those from randomly guessing at lanthanides and actinides - it helped when I realised I didn't have to *place* them ...

Still - I missed: Strontium, Zirconium, Niobium, Molybdenum, Antimony, Barium, Iridium (soooo annoying to know there's a precious metal missing, but not being able to recall the name), HYDRAGYRUM!, BISMUTH!!, promethium, samarium, Europium *rolls eyes*, Gadolinium, Dysprosium, Holmium, Berkeium (okay I had to look up the spelling of that one), Californium, Fermium, Mendelyevium, Nobelium (and to think I was grabbling for physicists to smack -ium on ...), Dubnium, Hassium (odd, I was sure I'd tried that).

Darmstadtium and Röntgenium, I couldn't even do from the two letters.

I really shoulda done ununbisium and upwards - easy points, stupid to miss.

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13. Jose on April 14, 2008 10:19 PM writes...

Don't forget Columbium, Wolfram, eke-Silicon and eke-Boron....

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14. Rich Rostrom on April 15, 2008 2:37 AM writes...

97 exactly. I missed all but one of the a.n. 104+ synthetics (and had one that doesn't exist); I missed seven of the natural elements (Magnesium, Silicon, Manganese, Rubidium, Strontium, Promethium, Europium).

I of course had Tom Lehrer's song running through my mind; it helped quite a bit.

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15. Jordan on April 16, 2008 12:47 PM writes...

I got 102 of them in about 10 minutes. I blanked on element 102 and on a bunch of the later lanthanides and nearly missed radium. I didn't bother with a lot of the new elements -- I figure that if you can't make more than 1 mg at a time, it's not worth memorizing.

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16. Ryan on April 18, 2008 1:08 AM writes...

114. I forgot Seaborgium, couldn't figure out Ununquadium, and never knew Darmstadium or Roentgenium. (Not too long ago I set about memorizing the whole table...)

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17. Dell on April 25, 2008 5:04 AM writes...

116, missing Roentgenium and Hassium.

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