98% of people can't guess the atomic names on the periodic table from just the chemical symbols! Can you?

SCIENCE

By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Chemical elements make up the universe that's all around use. Every element, from oxygen to iron, is categorized neatly on the famous periodic table. Can you guess the element by its symbol?

He

He is helium. Because helium's density is so different from normal air, if you inhale it and then speak, it makes your voice sound hilarious.

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Pb

Pb is lead, which is actually a pretty blue-white color just after it's been cut. It's only after exposure to air that lead turns into its familiar dull gray color.

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Na

Na is sodium, and it's a necessary element that appears in many familiar items such as sodium chloride -- table salt. It's also extremely reactive. If you throw a chunk of sodium into a lake, you'll see violent explosions, and yes, there are YouTube videos that serve as life lessons in this matter.

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K

K is the abbreviation for potassium. It reacts explosively when exposed to water, so you must handle it with extreme caution.

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U

U is uranium, which in spite of its ominous reputation, is only a little radioactive compared to some other elements. It's much denser than lead and often used in nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.

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Co

Co is cobalt, and once it is smelted, it has a silvery gray appearance. It's often used in the production of strong alloys, particularly those that require corrosion resistance.

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Se

Se is selenium, a metal ore that rarely appears in any real amounts in nature. It can be used in industrial applications and in place of lead to create a non-toxic version of brass.

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P

P is phosphorous. Some types of phosphorous are essential for life. Others, like white phosphorous, are easily ignitable and can cause serious harm.

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Rn

Rn is radon. It's a noble gas that's gained infamy for its prevalence in homes. It is odorless and tasteless, but constant exposure can cause lung cancer.

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Au

Au is gold. Gold's atomic number is 79, and it's one of the most prized elements on Earth. About half of the gold that's mined is used for jewelry, and 10 percent is used in various manufacturing industries.

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W

W is tungsten, which is also known as wolfram. It was first isolated in a lab in 1783 and it is used in many alloys. It's also very hard, and as such, it's good for things like weapons projectiles.

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V

V is vanadium, which is a silvery metal that was first discovered in 1801. It's often used in steel alloys for surgical tools, crankshafts and other metal items.

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Db

Db is dubnium, and no, it's not named after former president George W. Bush. It's a highly radioactive transition metal, and it can only be produced by humans in a lab.

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Pa

Pa is protactinium, a dense metal that was discovered in 1913. It's extremely toxic and dangerously radioactive, so it can only be handled safely in a shielded glove box.

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Mn

Mn is manganese, which is a critical element for various metal alloys, like stainless steel. Most manganese ore is mined in Africa.

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Es

Es is einsteinium, and it wasn't discovered until 1952 in the remains of a hydrogen bomb test. It's a soft, silvery metal and some of its isotopes are extremely radioactive.

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Cf

Cf is californium, which has the atomic number 98. It's an extremely radioactive chemical element that has a number of uses, such as firing up nuclear reactors at power plants. It was first created in 1950.

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Pu

Pu is, of course, plutonium which was first produced in real quantities during World War II. It was used in the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.

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La

La is lanthanum, a metallic chemical element that's been used in many lighting products, from lantern mantles to photography studio lights. It was discovered in 1839 but not fully isolated until 1923.

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Fr

Fr is francium, which was discovered in France in 1939. It's so rare (and so unstable) that it doesn't really have any purposes outside of laboratory research.

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Tm

Tm is thulium, a silvery gray chemical element in the lanthanide series. It's one of the rarest metals on Earth, but it's useful for laser, X-rays and other high-tech applications.

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Lv

Lv is livermorium, a very radioactive element. Scientists have never observed it in nature, but they've created it in labs. The U.S. and Russia worked together to discover this element in 2004.

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Ir

Ir is iridium, a silvery-white transition metal used in many electronics applications. Although fairly rare on Earth, this element is often found in meteorites that crash into our planet.

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Ga

Ga is gallium, and at room temperature, it's a pretty silver-blue color. It's not a free element in nature, but it's created for its many uses in electronics.

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Br

Br is bromine, and it gets its name from an old Greek word that means "stench," and we totally didn't make that up. It's a reddish-brown liquid that readily turns to gas, and yes, it really smells terrible.

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N

N is nitrogen, a colorless gas that was first discovered in 1772. It's one of the most common (and useful) elements in the universe. It's found in everything from fertilizer to drugs to bulletproof clothing.

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Mc

Mc is not M.C. Hammer, it is moscovium. It was first created by a team of American and Russian scientists in 2003, and it's an extremely unstable and reactive element.

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Sn

Sn is tin, a silver-white metal that has many of the most stable isotopes on the entire periodic chart. It's used in a lot of metal alloys, including the common tin can.

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Rb

Rb is rubidum, a highly reactive type of alkali metal. It can spark fires when it's combined with water. It has a number of useful industrial applications, and it is also used to make fireworks explode into a mesmerizing purple color.

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Be

Be is beryllium, a whitish-gray alkaline earth metal. When used in metal alloys, it allows for great rigidity and light weight in many products, but industrial workers must wear protection to prevent them from inhaling the dust, which can cause serious illnesses.

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