Which element is the most boring?

09 Aug, 2019
 
Periodic table poster
AUT Professor Allan Blackman's quest for the most boring chemical element has been published in nature chemistry.

The chemical elements hydrogen and carbon are necessary for life. Many elements, like the americium found in smoke detectors, make our lives easier. Some are spectacularly dangerous while others, such as the indium in touchscreen technology, are running out. But which element is the most boring?

A fascinating quest for the ‘not interesting’ by AUT Professor Allan Blackman and University of Auckland’s Dr Rebecca Jelley has been published in the journal Nature Chemistry.

The Most Boring Chemical Element, a tongue-in-cheek waltz through the elements, came out of Dr Blackman’s Radio New Zealand short podcast series Elemental which he produces with science journalist Alison Ballance.

As part of the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, and the 150th anniversary of its creation by Dmitri Mendeleev, Dr Blackman has been investigating the 118 known chemical elements through the podcasts.

“This process has highlighted the fact that every element, no matter how abundant or obscure, has its own story – the discovery, history, uses and quirks of each are unique. But some have better stories than others, and this made us think about which is most boring.”

You can also hear Dr Blackman on this Elemental special edition Most Boring Element podcast.

Download a poster of the periodic table here.