Symbols of gods

First published on FB 28/02/2020 And another two alchemical symbols. These are for mercury and lead, two of the seven elements known in ancient times. It is obvious which planet and god the element mercury is associated with. The symbol represents the god Mercury’s ‘caduceus’ or staff with two snakes entwined around it. Lead wasContinue reading “Symbols of gods”

Happy Valentine’s

First posted on FB 14/02/2020 Two more alchemical symbols today – sulfur and arsenic. Alchemists used this notation in texts such as those by Basil Valentine.   Valentine himself was something of a mystery. His texts claim that he lived in 15th century Germany, in Erfurt, but there is no record of his existence. The textsContinue reading “Happy Valentine’s”


Originally posted 11/02/2020 Today’s element is copper, associated with Venus, the planet and the Roman goddess of love. You might think this would have been better posted in three days’ time but today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science and you will recognise the symbol as that used in biology to denoteContinue reading “Feminism/femininity”

Earth and moon

First posted on FB 17/01/2020 A pair of elements today, selenium and tellurium, adjacent in Group 16. Before Mendeleev proposed his Periodic Table, other scientists had put forward similar ideas. In 1862, Alexandre-Emile Beguyer de Chancourtois proposed a helical arrangement with the elements in order of relative atomic mass and those with similar properties aligned vertically.Continue reading “Earth and moon”