We’ve palled around with tin for thousands of years, but you should know that it’s a fair-weather friend.
About a quarter of the way through Peter Wothers’ new book, Antimony, Gold, And Jupiter’s Wolf: How The Elements Were Named, I realized how much of an understatement that subtitle is. Wothers has done much more than supply origin stories for the elements’ names — he’s told the tale of societies slowly learning how to communicate with one another in a rapidly changing world.
The story of indium is pretty straightforward, but its namesake is practically impossible to pin down.
Cadmium will let you choose among a range of orange-ish hues, but it’s some pretty awful news if you contract the “cadmium blues.”