Periodic Table of the Elephants: the results, part 1

Last week, I ran a competition on this blog to re-assign the names of elements from the periodic table. There were loads of responses. You can see which elements were picked in this word cloud:

Word cloud of elements

The bigger the word, the more often it was used. This probably isn't stoechiometric for anything. Yes, I entered "sodium" and "Sodium" separately. Oops. Please don't sue me. And there's one called "Slenium". More Oops.

The Meaning of Liff Judge's Prize

I'm pleased to announce that the winner is "Helena Handcart", for this entry:

Rutherfordium: feeling of panic when faced with a decision which is of no importance but which nonetheless has to be made, for example which parking space to use in a completely empty car park. The decision itself is known as the rutherford.

I can't exactly say why I picked this one, it just pleased me when I read it. I may start confusing my friends and colleagues by using it in everyday conversation. So I'll pop a lovely CERN postcard is whisking its way to "Helena". I hope not to be overcome with rutherfordium when choosing the card in the giftshop.

an empty car park

Panic! Credit: Sebastian Ballard via Wikimedia Commons

Honorable mentions

There were several answers which also left me tickled with the unique joy which comes from being playful with language.

  • Samarium: The pleasurable way that gold dust trickles from the hand. by Sean Ellis (In fact, Sean had several very good entries)
  • Argon: an annoying little thread spotted on hems and seams of clothes that unravel within seconds of being observed. by "flammableflower"
  • Molybdenum: pretty, shiny, confetti like sequins found in small plastic envelopes in children's crafting kits. Completely resistant to any known glue, and thus utterly useless for crafting activities. by "legion"
  • Einsteinium: those spots you see after rubbing your eyes. eg. "wow, Einsteinium Maximum in my eyes right now!" by Craig McInnes

But that's not all!

The People's Choice Award, sponsored by the Uxbridge English Dictionary

There were many answers which were pun-based just like the Uxbridge English Dictionary, another fun language game. I can't quite pick between them, however. So I've decided to open it up to a popular vote.

The candidates are:

  • Dysprosium: An ability most sublime / to be able to write naught but rhyme. / It's quite cute at first / but it soon becomes worse / when you have to do it all the time. by Sean Ellis
  • Meitnerium: That tingling sensation that occurs during courtship when you are sitting a bit closer to someone than you dared before. by Ivan
  • Cadmium: (colloq.) “Produce an image of them on the computer for me.” by Lilliants
  • Quecksilber: the Lone Ranger's fast German horse. by Ernesto

Instead of voting by comment, head over to the page on Facebook to enter the poll there. The deadline is lunchtime on Thursday, 11 July 2013. The winner will also get a postcard from CERN.

Over to you:

  • Do you have any examples of rutherfordium?
  • Go vote!
  • Which of the other entries did you also like?

3 Responses to “Periodic Table of the Elephants: the results, part 1”

  1. Helena Handcart Reply | Permalink

    Friends, colleagues, I am truly, genuinely, honoured and humbled to be presented with this award. I'd like to say that, in a very real sense, it is not mine alone. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my parents, my partner, my children, my budgerigar, and of course all those many, many, colleagues who helped me to win by submitting entries that were not quite as good as mine. I love you all!

  2. Sean Ellis Reply | Permalink


    Belated thanks for the postcard. It has pride of place on the fridge.


    • Alex Brown Reply | Permalink

      Glad to hear it got there! Congrats again & watch this space for more such silliness.

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