Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Astatine

I'm planning to post random cool stuff that I found somewhere on the internet every Wednesday. Today's post is just a quote about astatine, the 85th element on the periodic table. Its name comes from the Greek word astatos (αστατος), meaning "unstable".

Randall Munroe of xkcd writes in What If?:
We don’t know what astatine looks like, because, as Lowe put it, “that stuff just doesn’t want to exist.” It’s so radioactive (with a half-life measured in hours) that any large piece of it would be quickly vaporized by its own heat. Chemists suspect that it has a black surface, but no one really knows.  
There’s no material safety data sheet for astatine. If there were, it would just be the word “NO” scrawled over and over in charred blood.

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