Favorite elements

My favorite element


The "Favorite Element" action has ended. The winners have been determined and notified. The prices will be sent in December. We thank all participants for their contributions.


The periodic table, for us chemists one of nature's most ingenious "inventions". Reason enough to extensively honor and celebrate it in the International Year of the Periodic Table.

The star is the team, also in the periodic table, a team of 118 players. But maybe you have a favorite after all? Is there an element that you particularly like or have a special relationship with? Then let us know.

Tell us your favorites and give us a brief explanation (no more than 600 characters, including spaces). Their justification does not have to be scientific, but can be original, philosophical, in the form of poetry, etc. Whatever you can think of about your favorite element, write to us. We will raffle 15 prizes in November from among all published submissions that reach us by October 31 (end of the campaign). The winners can choose: either one of our two new cups with the Erlenmeyerchen or the alternative periodic table of EuChemS or our Erlenmeyerchen in the plush version. Participation is open to members and non-members of the GDCh.


Here are our members' favorite items


My favorite element is carbon because all life is made up of carbon. Even in DNA, for example, carbon is contained in deoxyribose or in the bases. In addition, a life without carbon in plastics or even in concrete is hardly imaginable today.
Julian Weiß, Cologne


From the outside, the element with the atomic number 11, which can be found in the 3rd period of the periodic table, looks totally inconspicuous. Shiny silver, if you've thought of cutting away the oxidation layer. The enormous energy that can be released in exothermic chemical reactions can be seen at the latest when you put a piece of this pure sodium in a bowl of water. In this experiment, this metal shows every student how important it is to know exactly the hazard potential of the individual reactants and the respective reaction.
Christin Dee, Arnsberg


My favorite element is the element number 117, Tenness. The abbreviation Ts corresponds to my name abbreviation at work. I am one of the few scientists who made their way into the periodic table during my lifetime, even if only with the abbreviation of their name.
Gabriele Tschäbunin, Wiesbaden


Hydrogen is my favorite element!

Element One of the PSE is just so inconspicuous and yet full of energy
seen bound in this world.
Otherwise it disappears as soon as completely free, into the vastness of space and
makes it possible for us to explain the world.
Alexander Dyck, Petersfehn


My favorite element is hydrogen because it is a vital element that we encounter very often in everyday life.
Above all, it is the main component of L-ascorbic acid, i.e. vitamin C, which is especially important for sport but also for the normal day.
Water, the most important basis of life, also consists of hydrogen.
These are just a few examples in which hydrogen plays an irreplaceable role.
Without hydrogen, we wouldn't be where we are now!
Matthis Krauth, Bühl


My favorite element is the xenon. It is the only noble gas that forms various compounds with fluorine. Even if xenon hexafluoroplatinate, for example, has no particular practical use, that is already remarkable. Xenon alone is used in lamps and lasers, or what very few people know, in Medicine as an anesthetic.
Jonathan Geisler, Bochum


My favorite element is gallium. It melts at 29.7 degrees and only evaporates at 2400 degrees. No other element can do that, that's what makes it so special! It shines silver, rarely occurs and is a great semiconductor in combination with arsenic. I worked a lot with gallium during my doctorate, it fascinated me and led to white heat and in the end brought great results.
Regine Pfeiff, Schmitten


My favorite element is number 78 platinum. A sentence from my school days has burned into me; The standard hydrogen half-cell was described in connection with galvanic cells: "Platinum electrode made of platinum sheet with vapor-deposited platinum."
So much platinum! Platinum sounds noble, is noble and looks noble, whether as a jewelry or a catalyst. The latter is another great quality, by the way: like me, it stays out of everything.
Bianca Brendel, Augsburg


Thorium catalysts in combination with potassium are perfect, who doesn't know the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis from the 1930s, which is now on everyone's lips again. It can be carried through the laboratory on paper, much to the delight of all professors, but it is only an alpha emitter.
Uwe Lindner, Schmitten


My favorite element is iridium, a transition metal from the Pt group. I am particularly fascinated by its high density, which, along with almost all other elements, puts gold in the shade. My wedding ring will one day be made of iridium, even if it will be a very expensive ring ... But it will be very durable, not even aqua regia can dissolve iridium, unlike gold or platinum. Finally, I also like the name Iridium, which comes from the Greek ("rainbow-like") and somehow symbolizes for me a future-oriented, but also cosmopolitanism.
Patrick Knappe, Berlin


I find molybdenum really exciting. It has a fascinating name, it can be used in many ways as an alloy in steels, and you only think of metal, but it can also be used as a super lubricant. Molybdenum can also offer colored salts with different levels of oxidation!
Anke Reeh, Siegen


Colorless, odorless, tasteless.
Who could that be?

In space, in water, in the air.
You can be found there!

You gaseous gold
I don't live without you.
Because without you I will suffocate.

Alicia C. Schnitzke and Nicole Schulz


Aluminum is everywhere on earth,
But it also brings with it discomfort.
It helps you out a lot in everyday life
But it is a horror for the environment.
Is it the aluminum chlorohydrates?
Or the part in aluminum foil, now guess ?!
Anyway, actually the second place,
But for us it is and remains the first.
Theresa Thomsen, Preetz


My choice: copper. No Chemical Education without copper! Why? The metal is characteristically shiny red (everyone knows it!) And it has a high recognition value, as do the black and red oxides and, last but not least, the "blue" copper (II) ions. In this way, many doors can be opened that the learners like to walk through: redox chemistry (copper letter, metal extraction, oxidizing acids, reduction with hydrogen, ethanol oxidation), water detection, Fehling's test or cycles are representative of everything that is based on this element becomes tangible. Ergo: a didactic jewel.
Rainer Brunnert, Werne


... it's probably not the most popular of the elements. When I was a child, we sometimes drove past the Ronneburg cones on excursions, the spoil heaps of the nearby uranium mining. "When I see the cones, I know that I'm home," said some. "People die of lung cancer," said the others. I didn't think about these trips for a long time, not even when I started to write the new novel, which is set in one of the former uranium mining regions. It wasn't until late that I remembered the whispers of the adults from back then.
Tina Pruschmann, Leipzig


Their spectra are extremely important properties of the elements. Unfortunately, when calculating spectral lines, it was only enough for me to use Bohr's atomic model. So of course there is only (atomic) hydrogen left for me to really love. The great side effect: As a hydrogen lover you have almost only favorite atoms in the universe with 93% !!! And in the morning while showering: 2/3 favorite atoms caress you. The same thing runs down your throat soothingly with the coffee. So frustration and misery have no chance! A clear edge also in the diesel discussion: almost dead pants in the electric car, but almost 2/3 favorite atoms in my tank! Decision can be that easy.
Heiner Grimm, Clausthal-Zellerfeld


My favorite element is ruthenium, if only because of the beautiful name - and the "kinship" relationship to myself. For me, as a student many years ago, it was a discovery that there is such a relationship of names to a chemical element. Back then it was both a bit of an incentive to study chemistry and a little bit of a mirror for myself. In any case, I have since enjoyed the descriptions of the element ruthenium: resistant, spectacular catalytic properties, a platinum group element. Therefore quite useful and exciting to discover!
Ruth Wallis, Bohmte


My favorite element is SILVER. It holds three records: the best electrical conductivity, the highest thermal conductivity and the highest brilliance of all metals. And it's also wonderfully antimicrobial. You can take great photos with it, reflect yourself, pay with it, carry out catalysis, color glass as nanoparticles, treat wounds sterile and much more. And silver iodide is even used to make rain ...
Katharina Fromm, Friborg (Switzerland)


My favorite element is hydrogen. As a utility engineer, I have a lot to do with and around water at work, which is why I choose hydrogen. Whether as a transport medium in heating and drinking water pipes, as a storage tank for hot water or as a heat generator in boilers ... Water can be used in many technical processes.
Sabine Becker, Neustadt


Lithium! I associate a lot with you that makes me happy!
Lithium! My favorite Nirvana song!
Lithium! Li, my best friend who is from China!
Lithium! The proof reaction that reminds me of my great school days and Chemical Education !
Lithium! My father, who texted me with constant discussions about lithium-ion batteries in electromobility!
Lithium! I can hardly imagine a world without you! :)
Eileen Staudt, Rödermark


My favorite element is the 'Janus-headed' oxygen. Without it, no animal or vegetable life is possible on our planet, it ensures the beautiful blue of our clear sky and, I believe, it is also one of the most common elements on earth. The other side of oxygen is its ability to easily oxidize most other substances. As soon as the ambient air contains only more than the usual 20% by volume, things get tricky: If very little energy is supplied, the entire store will burn down, and extreme caution is necessary. Even metals burn in pure oxygen like tinder with a hot flame. The slow reaction with iron is different: when I was a student, architects still believed in the patina of iron, which should have a preservative effect. But firstly, it did not enter and secondly, the clad (including university) buildings were not exactly a feast for the eyes. They were simply called the 'rust arbor'.
Hartwig Müller, Neukirchen-Vluyn


Number one on the periodic table is also my # 1.
Katharina Mette, Berlin


The light metal titanium fascinates me. The element with the atomic number 22 is named after the Greek god Titan, just like the moon of the same name of Saturn. Titanium alloys are used for high-quality bicycles, for golf clubs, also in laser technology as titanium-sapphire lasers, in aircraft construction or for implants or for watches and notebooks with titanium-reinforced housings. The bright yellow color of the titanium cation in the hydrogen peroxide detection is also characteristic.
Anke Dreyer, Aachen


I discovered my enthusiasm for technology in kindergarten and my enthusiasm for ecology in my youth. Silicon got me in computer chips, on the beach during my Brazil exchange, in the form of quartz glass for the investigation of pyranine and YAG: Ce during my first scientific work and youth research work next to my high school diploma, in solar cells and electric cars and now in all kinds of technical equipment accompanied for my chemistry studies!
Leon Focks, Munster


Green twin - you have to come up with a name like this first! It already fascinated me at school, as an example of what chemists have in their heads. In the 1870s it is noticeable that the "element" Didym, the twin of the lanthanum, is not at all, but consists of at least two. In 1885 Carl Auer von Welsbach (also a great name!) Succeeds in dismantling it: into neodymium with pink salts and praseodymium with green salts. It plays a role in strong permanent magnets, and the green color is still in demand - for glass and enamel.
Hellmuth Nordwig, Fürstenfeldbruck


Your 80th! Mercury is something special, like every 80-year-old! It is the only liquid metal, it shines, so it adorns itself immensely. It is flexible and yet directional (Hg relay), the choice of color is undecided: "beautiful black" (calomel), yellow or at least red connections. The 80-year-old does not talk about "memory loss" or worse, more about (at least earlier) healing amalgam or the sunlamps. There is also the "beating Hg heart" and the ancient Arabs even wanted to become immortal by drinking a Hg-containing vessels. We don't want to go that far, but wish every 80-year-old another 1-2 decades.
Rolf Altendorf, Zierow


My favorite element is the element with the ordinal number 104: Kurtschatovium, today rutherfordium. When I was at school, Kurchatovium was still the last element in the publications of the periodic table made available to us at that time and is therefore still present in my work today. In the years that followed, there were repeatedly different trends in naming, most of which can be traced back to the conditions of the "Cold War". This controversy was finally resolved in 1997 with the agreement on the name Rutherfordium. For me a sign of the convergence of the systems at that time. In a certain sense also a "political element" in the long history of our periodic table.
Kalle Kipke, Coburg


My absolute favorite element is silicon because a) it has loyally accompanied me throughout my academic and professional career; b) it is of great technical and everyday importance both as an element, in molecules, polymers and solids; c) it is similar to its "little brother" carbon, but also has refreshing properties of its own; d) it starts with the same letters as my wife's first name; e) it impresses with its beauty in elemental form as well as in numerous compounds (especially minerals); f) it plays a role in all disciplines of chemistry; g) it is one of the most versatile elements and is therefore simply great.
Dennis Troegel, Nuremberg


One of my favorite elements is the element germanium, which was isolated on February 6, 1886 by Clemens Winkler (1838-1904) after four months of Sisyphean work from the Freiberg mineral argyrodite and which he named "germanium" out of love for his fatherland. The discovery of germanium was at the same time a triumph of the periodic system of the elements previously established by Dmitri I. Mendeleev (1834-1907). He was thus able to predict the chemical and physical properties of the placeholders of as yet undiscovered elements, including for e-silicon alias germanium.
Vladimir Reshetilovsky, Radebeul


Magnesium was my favorite element when I was eight, even if I didn't know its name. I forgot how I came up with the idea of putting a sharpener in a strong salt solution. But I still remember my astonishment at the crumbling case a few hours later, 55 years later. The ?electrical? tingling sensation when the blade and housing are touched with the tongue at the same time is still present. Who is surprised that I later became a chemistry teacher?
Michael Kratz, Hamburg


Zr, because it's just so "tough": D In addition to its great and practical hardness, zirconium has many beautiful sides! Visually, the zirconia makes everything sparkle, in an alloy it makes the extreme possible and as a catalyst it also thinks "green".
Marc Metzer


My absolute favorite is bromine. This element has fascinated me since my school days. Heavy, reddish brown, dangerous, emitting brown heavy fumes and one of the only two elements on the periodic table that are liquid at room temperature. Which element can claim that in this diversity? The tremendous reactivity is terrific. Despite the dangers involved in dealing with bromine, it is one of the important elements for us in its compounds. I take off my hat to this fascinating element!
Sven Boger, Berlin

Carbon (diamond)

Because Marilyn Monroe, the blondest of all blondes, already knew: "Diamonds are a girl's best friend"
Karin J. Schmitz, Frankfurt aM

Conditions of participation

Each participant declares by submitting his or her favorite element that he / she agrees to the publication and the mentioning of his / her name. There is no legal entitlement to publication. Participants can submit several favorite elements, but only take part in the raffle once. The judges' decision is final.

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Please send us a short text about your favorite element stating your first and last name as well as your place of residence or work to pr@gdch.de. For more information, see Conditions of Participation


Here you will find the favorite molecules of our members (campaign in the anniversary year 2017).

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last modified: 10.05.2021 16:39 H from K.J.Schmitz