Sunday, April 23, 2017

Abundance of elements on planet earth correlates with year of discovery

We hypothesized that chemical elements that are more abundant and easier to purify in elemental form would be discovered earlier. Obvious evidence for our hypothesis is that heavier elements such as Tennessine have been synthetically created and have been first described as late as the past decade. A better way to evaluate our hypothesis would be to look at all chemical elements discovered till now.

Using the timeline of chemical element discoveries from wikipedia and comparing to the abundance of these elements shows a significant negative correlation (r=-0.27; p-value: 0.0002421). Below figure show the golden age of discovery of chemical elements stretching from 1600 to 2000. Although many of the commonly used metals were well known to the "ancients", a large majority of the elements were discovered within the span of the last 400 years. The negative correlation suggests that less abundant materials were discovered later than the more abundant materials. Rapid discovery of chemical elements overlaps with the timing of the great divergence.

Chemical element abundance vs Year of discovery

Since the abundance of elements on earth is negatively correlated (r=-0.45; p-value: 8.336e-10) with the atomic numbers of the elements, we see a positive correlation (0.53; p-value < 2.2e-16) between the atomic number of elements and when they were discovered. Instead of just using the abundance of elements, a better measure would be the weight of both abundance and ease of extraction.

It would be interesting to see if such correlations would exist on other planets. Would the class of the planet determine the correlation?

The star trek Voyager episode "Emanations" set in the year 2371 (stardate 48623.5), says that 246 elements are known to federation science. This is almost double the number known now. This suggests another age of discovery in the near future. The BBC has an interesting article on what new wonders await us in the outer reaches of the periodic table. However, as yet it is not clear how far the extended periodic table can be extended synthetically and how many of these elements will be found naturally. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ann Arbor to Chicago union station - a train journey via Amtrack

A train journey from Ann Arbor to Chicago is an easy way to travel. Amtrak runs multiple trains throughout the day on this route which actually starts from Pontiac. The journey of approximately 4 hours can frequently be delayed by upto 30 minutes. Apart from experiencing this first hand, I also overheard a very upset American complaining that this delay had resulted in him reaching 30 minutes late to his job interview. Hopefully, he will still get the job as the interviewer seemed sympathetic to his cause. 

Ann Arbor, Amtrak station, Front entrance in March 2017

The train route meanders down from Ann Arbor through Jackson, Battle creek, Kalamazoo, Niles, and New Buffalo before entering the state of Illinois. After stopping over at Michigan city, it heads into Chicago to stop at the union station.

Kalamazoo is approximately the mid-point (for travelers from Detroit) located 142 miles from Detroit and 138 miles from Chicago. The phrase Timbuktu to Kalamazoo (both real places) commonly used by English speakers to refers to journeys between exotic places. The word is thought to originate from native American's of the Hopewell culture. The journey ends at the historic Union station of Chicago.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The sun rises in the east

What you see here is the sun rising. It most definitely is rising in the east.

Let's hope it's not a sunset :) If it was not clear before, let me make myself clear (as if it matters), all views expressed on this blog are my own personal views and don't reflect the views of my employers.