Alphabet of elements

It can’t have escaped your notice that our marketing campaign is focussing on the periodic table – various elements are represented in a more graphical form. So far, we’ve had a flaming O, sparkly and blinging C, stripey toothpaste F, etc. We’re not far from being able to make words out of the postcards on our office wall!

Which got us thinking…what’s the longest word you can spell only using elements? Gav is very proud to have got his team’s name: SUNdErLaNd, but less pleased when I countered with their great rivals NeWCAsTlEuNiTeD! OK, so D is for deuterium…

I’m struggling to spell my name at all and won’t even attempt my football team (I can get as far as tungsten and oxygen). Steve says that he once used a compound database that tried to work out what UNKNOWN was – a complex oxynitride, no doubt.

I’d love to be able to offer a prize for the longest word, but I’ll have to limit it to what my physics teacher used to award: self-esteem and the respect of your peers!


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)