Monday, February 02, 2015
But the symbol for mercury, Hg, consists of two letters that don't even appear in its name. Unraveling that mystery—it's from hydragyrum, Latin for "water silver"—helped me understand how heavily ancient languages and mythology influenced the periodic table, something you can still see in the Latin names for the newer, superheavy elements along the bottom row.For hydragyrum read hydrargyrum. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. hydrargyrum:
< modern Latin hydrargyrum, altered (on the analogy of other names of metals, as aurum, argentum) from Latin hydrargyrus, < Greek ὑδράργυρος artificial quicksilver, < ὑδρ- (HYDRO- comb. form) + ἄργυρος silver.
Labels: typographical and other errors