Orange Alert

Support Chemistry

Giving to the Chemistry Department

To give to the Department, please visit The College of Arts & Sciences Giving Page (select "Chemistry" from the pull down menu).


The Department appreciates contributions of any amount. However, we provide special recognition of donations of $5,000 and above by dedicating elements in our Periodic Table display case to such supporters. The elements that have already been purchased are represented in grey in the periodic table below.

Support the Department of Chemistry and Sponsor an element.

Element Name — Description and Use/Sponsorship Information

Hydrogen (H) —
The most abundant of all elements, making up more than 90% of all atoms; the lightest of all gases, combines with other elements, sometimes explosively, to form compounds. Rocket fuel, hydrogenation of fats, water, and ammonia. Sponsor: Bruce Hudson
Helium (He) —
Lowest melting point of any element; used as an inert gas shield for welding and a lifting gas for balloons. Balloons, blimps, diving bell atmosphere, lasers, leak detectors, and nuclear plant coolant.
Lithium (Li) —
The lightest of all metals, found in small amounts in igneous rock and in the waters of mineral springs; used as an alloying agent. Pharmaceuticals, glass, pacemaker batteries, alloys used in space, and lubricant additive.
Beryllium (Be) —
Steel gray, one of the lightest metals; used in high-speed aircraft, missiles and spacecraft. Watch springs, X-ray tube windows, spark-free tools, and heat conducting ceramics.
Boron (B) —
Element with interesting optical properties; a boron compound, borax, is used as a water softener in powdered detergents. Heat resistant glass, regulators in nuclear plants, eye disinfectant.
Carbon (C) —
The basis for life; a truly unique element that takes forms ranging from diamonds to lumps of coal. Pencils, diamonds, coal, tire colorant, steel, plastics, life. Sponsor: Phillip M. Pivawer
Nitrogen (N) —
Makes up 78% of the air, with more than 4000 billion tons in the atmosphere; compounds important in foods, poisons, fertilizers, and explosives. Refrigerant, coolant (liquid nitrogen), cryogenic surgery, ammonia production, rocket fuels.
Oxygen (O) —
The third most abundant element found in the universe; essential for respiration of all plants and animal and for practically all combustion. Hospital life support, combustion, steel production, water purification. Sponsor: Gershon and Dina Vincow
Fluorine (F) —
The most electronegative and reactive of all elements; a pale yellow, corrosive gas; used in drinking water to prevent dental decay. Toothpaste additives, uranium enrichment, refrigerator coolants, Teflon.
Neon (Ne) —
A rare gaseous element that glows reddish-orange in a vacuum discharge tube; used in making advertising signs, high-voltage indicators, lightning arrestors, and TV tubes. Neon lights, fog lights, TV tubes, lasers, voltage detectors.
Sodium (Na) —
Bright, soft, silvery metal; very reactive and never found free in nature; compounds used in paper, glass, soap, textile, petroleum, chemical and metal industries; ingredient in kitchen salt, soda, glass, street lights, batteries, nuclear reactor coolant.
Magnesium (Mg) —
A light, silvery white metal that readily ignites upon heating in air and burns with a dazzling white flame; used in flash photography, flares and fireworks and as an alloy with aluminum. Sparklers, chlorophyll, airplanes, bricks for fireplaces.
Aluminum (Al) —
Silvery white metal. Thousands of household and industrial applications. Planes, cars, rockets, window frames, doorknobs, tube, cable, foil, fireworks, flash bulbs. Sponsor:Dr. Lisa D. Coutts
Silicon (Si) —
One of the most useful elements, in different forms used to make brick, glass, electron devices; present in human skeleton. Solar cells, micro chips, tools, quartz, cement, glass, silicon rubbers and oils.
Phosphorus (P) —
Widely distributed in combination with other minerals; an essential component of all cell protoplasm, nervous tissue and bones; spontaneously combusts in air. Matches, fireworks, fertilizers, detergents, toothpastes, pesticides.
Sulfur (S) —
A pale yellow, odorless, brittle solid; found in meteorites and naturally occurs near volcanoes and hot springs; component of gun powder, is used to cure rubber and as a fungicide. Odorant for natural gas, matches, fireworks, batteries, vulcanization of rubber.
Chlorine (Cl) —
Greenish-yellow gas that combines directly with most elements, used in making many everyday products; used to produce safe drinking water. Bleach, hydrochloric acid, water purification, plastics, stain removers.
Argon (Ar) —
Gas present in air; makes up 0.94% of the atmosphere. Lasers, geiger counters, light bulbs, gas discharge tubes, welding blanket gas.
Potassium (K) —
Alkaline metal never found free in nature; used in fertilizers; spontaneously combusts in water. Glass lenses, fertilizer, matches, gun powder, salt substitute.
Calcium (Ca) —
Essential constituent of leaves, bones, teeth and shells. Concrete, plaster of Paris, fertilizer, metallurgy, bones. Sponsor: Prof. Robert R. Birge, Mrs. Constance R. Birge
Scandium (Sc) —
Soft, silvery-white metal found in residues of rare earth metals; is much more abundant in the sun and stars than here on earth. Stadium lighting, leak detectors, large screen TVs.
Titanium (Ti) —
A lustrous white metal that is present in meteorites and in the sun, in igneous rocks and in their sediment. Bone pins, heat exchanger, airplane motors, pigments for paint and paper.
Vanadium (V) —
Bright white metal that is soft and ductile with good structural strength; used in the production of steels for tools and in nuclear applications. Tools, construction materials, springs, jet engines.
Chromium (Cr) —
Lustrous, steel-gray, hard metal, much of which is used in plating to produce a hard, beautiful surface and to prevent corrosion. Camouflage paints, lasers, stereo, video tapes, tools, knives, plating for car parts.
Manganese (Mn) —
A gray-white metal resembling iron that is used to form many alloys; in steel, improves strength, toughness, stiffness, wear resistance and hardening; also used in dry cell batteries. Plows, safes, steel for rail switches, tools, axes, batteries.
Iron (Fe) —
Relatively abundant in the universe; a major component of meteorites; the cheapest, most abundant, useful and important of all metals. Magnets, machines, bikes, cars, bridges, nails, tools, red blood cells. Sponsor:LighTouch Medical
Cobalt (Co) —
A brittle, hard metal that resembles iron and nickel; in salts has been used for centuries to produce brilliant blue color in pottery, tiles and enamels. Permanent blue pigment, razor blades, permanent magnets, catalytic converters.
Nickel (Ni) —
A constituent in most meteorites, often used to distinguish meteorites from other minerals; silvery-white metal that takes on a high polish; valuable as an alloy. Coins, knives, forks, spoons, crucibles, white gold, rechargeable batteries.
Copper (Cu) —
One of the world's most important metals; used especially in electrical industry and in the alloys bronze and brass; all American coins are copper alloys. Statue of Liberty, cable, wire, water pipe, pennies, bronze sculpture, bells, carillons.
Zinc (Zn) —
Bluish-white, lustrous metal used for making brass; also used to produce nickel silver, commercial bronze, spring brass, German silver, soft solder and aluminum solder; used in production of paints, rubber, and cosmetics. Corrosion resistant coating, water and gas valves, batteries, gutters, white pigments in rubber.
Gallium (Ga) —
A metal that is liquid near room temperatures; gallium arsenide is used as a compound semiconductor used to fabricate electron devices. Infrared night vision, computer memory, quartz thermometers, transistors, laser diodes.
Germanium (Ge) —
A gray-white metalloid element and important semiconductor material used in transistors, as an alloying agent, as a phosphor in fluorescent lamps, and as a catalyst. Fiber optics, infrared night vision, wide-angle lenses, semiconductors.
Arsenic (As) —
Element that appears in white, gray and yellow solid forms; poisonous murder weapon favored by mystery writers. Shotgun pellets, metal for mirrors, glass, lasers, light emitting diodes (LEDS).
Selenium (Se) —
A member of the sulfur family; can be red, in powder form, or black, in vitreous form; exhibits both photovoltaic action and photo-conductive action make possible its use in photographic equipment; used to color glass and enamels. Copy machines, light meters, solar cells, dandruff shampoos.
Bromine (Br) —
The only liquid non-metallic element, with a strong, disagreeable odor; one form used in gasoline anti-knock compounds. Fire retardants, photographic film, tear gas, disinfectants. Sponsor: Roger and Estelle Hahn
Krypton (Kr) —
A rare, inert gas present in the air at about one part per million. Atomic clocks, fluorescent bulbs, flash bulbs, UV lasers.
Rubidium (Rb) —
Soft, silvery white metallic element of the alkali group; ignites spontaneously in air and reacts violently in water, setting fire to the liberated hydrogen. Heart muscle research, photoelectric cells, gas scavenger in vacuum tubes.
Strontium (Sr) —
A metal which, finely divided, ignites spontaneously in air; salts used in fireworks for the crimson color of their flames. Nuclear batteries in buoys, beta radiation source, phosphorescent paint.
Yttrium (Y) —
Silvery element that occurs in most rare earth metals; turnings of the metal ignite in air; used in alloys with aluminum, magnesium and iron. Color TV screens, radar, lasers, superconductors, fireproof bricks.
Zirconium (Zr) —
Grayish-white, lustrous metal that is exceptionally resistant to corrosion; when finely divided, will ignite in air; used in poison ivy lotion. Zircon gemstone, nuclear fuel rods, catalytic converters, furnace bricks.
Niobium (Nb) —
A shiny, white, soft metal that takes on a bluish cast when exposed to air at room temperatures for a long time; used as an alloy. Welding rods, cutting tools, pipelines, superconducting magnets.
Molybdenum (Mo) —
A metal at first confused with lead and graphite; used in many alloys and in missile and aircraft parts; an essential trace element in plant nutrition. Filament in electric heaters, rocket motors, lubricants, source of radio isotopes.
Technetium (Tc) —
A silver-gray metal that tarnishes slowly in moist air; the first element to be produced artificially; a corrosion inhibitor for steel. Radiation source for medical research. Sponsor: Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals
Ruthenium (Ru) —
Metallic element found in residue from platinum ore; an effective hardener for platinum and palladium. Eye treatment, surgery, thickness meters for eggshells, fountain pen point.
Rhodium (Rh) —
Metallic element often found with platinum metals, useful as an electrical contact material; has a high reflectance and durability; sometimes used in jewelry. Headlight reflectors, telephone relays, airplane spark plugs, catalytic converters.
Palladium (Pd) —
Element found along with metals of the platinum group, a steel-white metal alloyed with gold to form white gold; used in dentistry, watch making, surgical instruments and electrical contacts. Dental, catalytic converters, hydrogen separation, anti-tumor.
Silver (Ag) —
Metal known since ancient times, prized for its brilliant white luster; alloys used in jewelry, coins, and dentistry; also important in photography. Silverware, mirrors, batteries, photographic film, paper, photosensitive glass.
Cadmium (Cd) —
A soft, bluish-white element that is easily cut with a knife; used in batteries and electroplating; toxic. Rechargeable batteries, red and yellow pigments, plating of screws, bolts, regulator in nuclear reactors.
Indium (In) —
A very soft, silvery-white metal; used in making bearing alloys, germanium transistors, photoconductors, and mirrors. Transistors, photo cells, solar cells, mirrors, regulator in nuclear power, clear conductive coatings.
Tin (Sn) —
A silvery white metal with a highly crystalline structure; used to coat other metals to prevent corrosion; important in alloys like solder, pewter, and bronze. Organ pipes, pewter cups and plates, opalescent glass, enamel, weather resistant vinyl siding.
Antimony (Sb) —
Common metallic element that increases strength of lead. Ceramic glass, solder, type for printing, lead batteries, fire retardants.
Tellurium (Te) —
Silvery white element with a metallic luster; is brittle and easily pulverized; most often found as the telluride of gold and other metals; important semiconductor. Vulcanization of rubber, percussion caps, battery plate protector, electrical resistors. Sponsor: Donald C. Dittmer
Iodine (I) —
A grayish black, lustrous solid that volatizes at ordinary temperatures into a blue-violet gas with an irritating odor; used in different forms to treat thyroid disease and cleanse wounds, and in the photographic process. Photographic film, ink pigments, salt additive, disinfectant, halogen lamps.
Xenon (Xe) —
Inert gas present in the atmosphere at about one part in 20 million; in a vacuum tube, produces a beautiful blue glow when excited by an electrical discharge. Sun lamps, UV lamps, paint testers, projection lamps, electronic flashes.
Cesium (Cs) —
Silvery white, soft alkaline metal that is liquid at room temperature; reacts explosively with cold water. Atomic clock, photoelectric cells, gamma radiation source, scintillation counters.
Barium (Ba) —
Soft, silver-white metallic element from the alkaline earth group; sulfate used in paint, x-ray diagnostic work, and glass making. Fireworks (green), magnetic recording tapes, gas scavenger in vacuum, fluorescent lamps.
Lanthanum (La) —
A silvery white, malleable, ductile rare earth metal that oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air; compounds used in carbon lighting applications, especially by the film industry for studio lighting and projection. Camera lenses, battery electrodes, catalytic converters, lighter flints.
Cerium (Ce) —
The most abundant of the rare earth metals; used in carbon-arc lighting in the film industry. Lighter flints, catalytic converters, kluge lights, self cleaning ovens.
Praseodymium (Pr) —
Soft, silvery and malleable rare earth metal; used in carbon arcs for lighting in film industry; salts are used to color glass and enamels yellow. Cryogenic refrigeration, permanent magnets, search lights, ceramic cooling.
Neodymium (Nd) —
A bright silvery metallic rare earth metal; used to color glass a light lavender and as a laser material. High strength magnets for disc drives, coloring for eyeglasses, ceramic capacitors, glass for lasers and lenses.
Promethium (Pm) —
Beta radiation source for thickness gauges, source for signals that require dependable operation (using phosphor to absorb the beta radiation and produce light), nuclear battery in which photocells convert the light into electric current.
Samarium (Sm) —
A rare earth metal with a bright silver luster; used for carbon-arc lighting for the film industry; oxide used in infrared absorbing glass and as a neutron absorber in nuclear reactors. Ceramic capacitors, high temperature permanent magnets, lasers.
Europium (Eu) —
A silvery white element with a metallic luster identified spectroscopically in the sun and certain stars. Color TV tubes, X-ray intensifier screens, mercury lamps, energy saving trichromatic fluorescent lights.
Gadolinium (Gd) —
A silver-white, malleable rare earth metal; useful in nuclear rods and possibly as nuclear shields; has unusual superconducting properties. Diagnosing osteoporosis, permanent magnets, X-ray tubes, computer memory.
Terbium (Tb) —
Silvery gray, rare earth metal, relatively stable in air; used in solid-state devices. Magneto-optic alloys for CDs, X-ray screens, fluorescent lamps, magnetic-strictive alloys for submarine transducers.
Dysprosium (Dy) —
A rare earth metal with a bright silver luster. Magneto-optic alloys for CDs, X-ray screens, color TV tubes, mercury lamps, neutron scavenger.
Holmium (Ho) —
A rare earth metal that in its pure form has a metallic to bright silver luster; relatively soft and malleable. Glass coloring, eye-safe lasers.
Erbium (Er) —
A dark gray metallic powder with nuclear and metallurgical applications; in oxide form gives a pink color used in glasses and porcelain enamel glazes. Glass coloring, infrared fiber optics, coating for sun glasses, pink simulant gemstones.
Thulium (Tm) —
Bright, silvery metal, the least abundant of the rare earth elements. Lasers.
Ytterbium (Yb) —
Rare earth metal with a bright, silvery luster; soft and malleable. Dentures, portable X-ray source for blood treatment, carbon arc lamps.
Lutetium (Lu) —
A rare earth metal that occurs in small amounts in nearly all minerals containing yttrium; one of the most costly of all elements. Temperature sensing optics.
Hafnium (Hf) —
Along with zirconium, one of the hardest elements to separate; has a brilliant silver luster; used in nuclear reactor control rods. Nuclear submarines, controls nuclear reactions, gas scavenger in vacuum tubes.
Tantalum (Ta) —
A gray, heavy, hard metal with a high melting point; used in a variety of alloys; used in surge suppressors, chemical process equipment, nuclear reactors, aircraft and missile parts, and surgical equipment. Weights, capacitors, vacuum tube filaments, cutting tools.
Tungsten (W) —
Steel-gray to white element; in pure and alloy form used for electric light filaments, x-ray targets, space missile and high-temperature applications. Lamp filaments, welding electrode, rocket nozzles, cutting and boring tools.
Rhenium (Re) —
Metallic element often found in platinum ores; used as an additive to tungsten and molybdenum-based alloys; used as electrical contacts, filaments for mass spectrographs and gages, thermocouples, and flash lamps for photography. Electrodes, oven filaments, jewelry plating, thermocouples.
Osmium (Os) —
Lustrous, blue-white hard metal; used in various forms to detect fingerprints, stain fatty tissue for microscope slides, and to produce hard alloys. Fountain pen points, decorations, compass needles, clock bearings.
Iridium (Ir) —
A metal of the platinum family, white with a yellowish cast, hard and brittle, the most corrosion-resistant metal known; used as a hardening agent for platinum. Helicopter spark plugs, hypodermic needles, satellite thruster engines.
Platinum (Pt) —
A beautiful, silvery-white metal extensively used in jewelry, wire and vessels for laboratory use, thermocouple elements, electrical contacts and dentistry. Crucibles, dental crowns, anti-tumor agents, catalyst for nitric acid products.
Gold (Au) —
The most beautiful of all elements; when in a mass this metal is yellow, but when finely divided may be black, ruby or purple. Jewelry, precious metals, electrical contacts, dental crowns.
Mercury (Hg) —
The only common metal that is liquid at room temperature; used in laboratory instruments, mercury-vapor lamps, pesticides, batteries, and catalysts. Thermometers, barometers, street lights, thermostats, dental fillings, seed protection.
Thallium (Tl) —
A soft, malleable and toxic metal; when freshly exposed to air has a metallic luster, but rapidly develops a bluish-gray tinge. Insecticides, thermometer filling, infrared detectors, heat muscle research.
Lead (Pb) —
Bluish-white with a bright luster, very soft; very effective as a sound and vibration absorber and a radiation shield. Radiation protection, roof coverings, batteries, solders, ammunition, crystal stemware, fishing weights.
Bismuth (Bi) —
White, crystalline, brittle metal with a pinkish tinge; in early times was confused with tin and lead. Antacids, antidiarrheals, catalyst in rubber production.
Polonium (Po) —
A very rare, natural, radioactive element, the first discovered by Marie Curie; can be mixed or alloyed with beryllium. Nuclear batteries, neutron source, antistatic agents, film cleaner.
Astatine (At) —
Radioactive element; isotopes have very short half-lives. Seldom found in nature.
Radon (Rn) —
The heaviest known gas, naturally occurring in soil; at normal temperatures is colorless, but when cooled below freezing, exhibits a brilliant phosphorescence that becomes yellow and then orange-red as the temperature is lowered. Health threat in home built on granite, earthquake meter, seldom found in nature.
Francium (Fr) —
The last member of the alkali metal series; there is probably less than an ounce of Francium at any time in the total crust of the earth. Seldom found in nature.
Radium (Ra) —
Radioactive element discovered by Pierre and Marie Curie, the study of which has greatly altered ideas of the structure of the atom; used to produce luminous paints, neutron sources and in medicine for the treatment of disease. Antique glow in the dark paint, neutron source.
Actinium (Ac) —
150 times as radioactive as radium; of value in production of neutrons. Neutron source.
Thorium (Th) —
Silvery-white, radioactive metal; when heated in air, ignites and burns brilliantly with a white light; used for portable gas lights, alloying material with magnesium, and for high-temperature crucibles. Coating on filament wire, breeder reactor fuel, gaslight mantles, crucibles.
Protactinium (Pa) —
Radioactive element that has a bright metallic luster; isotopes have very long half-lives. Trace contaminant in ceramic glazes.
Uranium (U) —
Heavy, silvery white, radioactive metal of great importance as a nuclear fuel. Breeder reactor fuel, nuclear reactor fuel, gyro compasses, glass coloring.
Neptunium (Np) —
A synthetic transuranium element with a silvery appearance; isotope used as a component in neutron-detection instruments.
Plutonium (Pu) —
A transuranium element used as an explosive ingredient in nuclear weapons and nuclear power; radiological poison that must be specially handled.
Americium (Am) —
Radioactive element, identified as the result of successive neutron capture reactions by plutonium isotopes in a nuclear reactor. Crystal research, smoke detectors, glass thickness meters, neutron source.
Curium (Cm) —
A transuranium element; a silvery metal that resembles other actinide metals.
Berkelium (Bk) —
Transuranium element produced at Berkeley.
Californium (Cf) —
Transuranium element, thought to be produced in stellar explosions (supernovae). Neutron source.
Einsteinium (Es) —
A transuranium element identified in debris from the first hydrogen bomb explosion.
Fermium (Fm) —
A transuranium element of the actinide series, identified in debris from the first hydrogen bomb explosion.
Mendelevium (Md) —
A transuranium element of the actinide series; isotopes have very short half-lives.
Nobelium (No) —
Radioactive element discovered in 1958; attempts to duplicate experiment have failed.
Lawrencium (Lr) —
Last of the actinide series to be discovered, based solely on nuclear rather than chemical evidence.
Rutherfordium (Rf) —
Not used for anything and little is known about it. Rutherfordium is the first transactinide element and it is predicted to have chemical properties similar to hafnium.
Dubnium (Db) —
Formerly called Hahnium, named after Dubna, the city that contains the Russian Joint Institute for Nuclear Research.
Seaborgium (Sg) —
Chemistry resembles that of tungsten, discovered almost simultaneously by two different laboratories, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna and the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.
Bohrium (Bh) —
Synthesized in 1976 by a Soviet team led by Y. Oganessian at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna.
Hassium (Hs) —
First synthesized in 1984 at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. Name derived from the Latin name for the German state of Hessen where the institute is located.
Meitnerium (Mt) —
First synthesized on August 29, 1982 by a German research team at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research at Darmstadt. The synthesis of this element demonstrated that nuclear fusion techniques could be used to make new, heavy nuclei.