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Author Topic: Why are some single letters missing from the Periodic Table?  (Read 1384 times)

Offline evan_au

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The TV series "Breaking Bad" made a visual joke of element abbreviations from the periodic table when spelling out text (eg Br represents Bromine and Ba represents Barium).

These are two-letter abbreviations, because the single letter "B" was already taken (Boron).

But why are there two-letter abbreviations like Al (Aluminium) and As (Arsenic), but no element represented by just "A"?
Similarly, why do we have Ti & Te, but no "T"?


 

Offline alancalverd

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Argon was A in my younger days but seems to have morphed into Ar when I wasn't looking.

It would make a good pub quiz question: what do A, E, G, J, L, M, Q, R, T, X and Z have in common?   
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Argon was A in my younger days but seems to have morphed into Ar when I wasn't looking.

It would make a good pub quiz question: what do A, E, G, J, L, M, Q, R, T, X and Z have in common?

If you include T, why not D?
 

Offline alancalverd

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You beat me to the keyboard by a couple of hours!

D is deuterium, which of course (silly me) doesn't feature in the standard Periodic Table. But T is tritium, likewise. So now we have a really good quiz question with a clue:

AEGJLMQRXZ have one feature in common. D and T could be part of that set, or not, depending on your point of view.
 

Offline chris

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Further fun facts I learned when IUPAC announced the four new elements at the start of 2016: J isn't in the periodic table but does have an element - jodium, the old name for iodine. Q isn't used to name any element, so you won't find it in the table.
 

Offline alysdexia

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AArgon#Change_in_name_.28really.2C_symbol.29
https://books.google.com/books?id=j-Xu07p3cKwC&pg=PA38

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Originally the symbol for argon was simply 'A', but this was changed to Ar by IUPAC in 1957 to bring it into line with the other noble gases.
 

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