A little over a week or so ago, I posted a description of categories of minor planets and minor planets named from Hellenic mythology. I love things like that. I love knowing how far Hellenic mythology and the Gods still reach. Today, I want to present you with a new list, this time of the Hellenic influence on the names of chemical elements--either through mythology or simply through language.

Argon (Ar) From the Greek word "argos" which means idle or lazy. Argon is one of the laziest, least reactive elements of all. There are also many mythological figures named "Argos", but those are not whom the element was named after.

Bromine (Br) - From the Greek word "bromos" which means stench. Bromine has an unpleasant smell.

Chlorine (Cl) From the Greek word "chloros" which means green. Chlorine is a green gas.

Helium (He) - Named after the God Helios. In 1868, during an eclipse of the Sun, scientists observed a spectral line caused by an unknown element. They named the element Helium. Twenty seven years later, in 1895, the element was discovered on Earth.

Hydrogen (H) - From the Greek words "hydro" and "genes" which mean water and forming. When hydrogen burns in the air, it forms water.

Iodine (I) - From the Greek word "iodos" which means violet. Iodine is a grey solid at room temperature. It gives off a violet colored vapor when warmed.

Niobium (Nb) - It is a soft, grey, ductile transition metal, which is often found in the pyrochlore mineral, the main commercial source for niobium, and columbite. Its name comes from Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, the namesake of tantalum (see below). The name reflects the great similarity between the two elements in their physical and chemical properties, making them difficult to distinguish.

Oxygen (O) - From the Greek words "oxy" and "genes" meaning acid forming. Most non-metals burn in oxygen to form acids eg. sulphur.

Phosphorous (P) - From the Greek word "phosphorus" which means "light bearing". It was also the ancient name for the planet Venus, usually the brightest "star" in the night sky. Phosphorous glows in the dark and catches fire in the air to give a bright flame.

Tantalum (Ta) - Named after King Tantalos. It was discovered in 1802 and great difficulties were encountered in dissolving its oxide in acid to form salts, which is most likely how it got its name--King Tantalos was imprisoned in Tartaros for serving the son he murdered to the Gods when They came to dinner. Tantalos' punishment for his actions was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any.

Titanium (Ti) - Named after Titans, members of the second generation of divine beings, descending from the primordial deities and preceding the Olympian deities. They are giant deities of incredible strength. Titanium is an extremely strong metal which resists attack by acids.