First published on FB 13/03/2020
This was supposed to be a periodic table devoid of letters and numbers, so why do we have here alpha, beta, gamma – the first three letters of the Greek alphabet?
The element cadmium is named for Cadmean earth, an ore found near Thebes, the ancient Greek city founded by the hero Cadmus. Cadmean earth is a zinc ore in which cadmium was discovered as an impurity.
According to myth, Cadmus was a prince of Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon) and was sent to Greece by his father to rescue his sister Europa who had been abducted by Zeus. The Greek alphabet developed from the Phoenician alphabet, and it was Cadmus who was credited by ancient Greek historians with bringing the Phoenician alphabet to Greece.