Posted by claire on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 4:30pm.
oh i got it!! nevermind.
The periodic table is made up of a bunch of elements (something like 116 or so and still rising) BUT each has a name AND a symbol. The simple way of answering that part of your question is to say memorize them. That isn't that hard to do but usually we don't need to know all of them; just the common ones. MOST of them use the beginning letter for symbols. For example:
B is boron.
C is carbon.
N is nitrogen.
O is oxygen.
F is fluorine.
H is hydrogen.
BUT since there are many elements that begin with the same letter, that system goes awry; therefore, some elements must have the first two letters or at least the first and another letter.
So B is boron and Be is beryllium, Ba is barium.
C is carbon so Ca is calcium, Cr is chromium, Cd is cadmium, etc.
H is hydrogen so He is helium, and Ho is holmium.
Then there are the funny ones like you posted.
There are a number of elements that were known in the dark ages and those elements were named by Greeks/Italians/Germans/ you get the picture.
Cu is copper (from cuprum--latin)
Fe is iron (from ferrum)
Hg is mercury (from hydragynum)
Ag is silver (from argentum)
Pb is lead (from plumbum)
Sn is tin (from stannum).
W is tungsten (W for wolfram from German --In fact the IUPAC insists wolfram is the correct name (or at least did) but the U. S. said we would go along with the symbol of W (to make it internationally accepted ) but we still would call it tunsten).
K is potassium (from the German word Kalium).
I hope I've answered part of your question. If I didn't get to everything please post again.Thanks.
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