Chemical Elements Reduced to Words Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read entries from a Web site that offers short poems about each of the chemical elements. The site, iSciFiStory.com, asked people to write haiku about their favorites.
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Chemical Elements Reduced to Words

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Chemical Elements Reduced to Words

Chemical Elements Reduced to Words

Chemical Elements Reduced to Words

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Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read entries from a Web site that offers short poems about each of the chemical elements. The site, iSciFiStory.com, asked people to write haiku about their favorites.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

The element selenium may pose some nasty health risks for wildlife, but it does have a lovely name. It's named after Selene, the Greek goddess of the moon.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Which leads us to this haiku: `In quiet moonlight, a tiny breath is felt, selenium.'

BLOCK: We found that haiku and over a hundred more on the Internet, naturally, on the Periodic Table of Haiku. And if you were counting syllables there, you'll have noticed that they use a loose definition of haiku. They actually call their creations SciFiKu.

SIEGEL: At any rate, we were pulled by bonds of chemical attraction to many of their poetic offerings to elements on the periodic table.

BLOCK: Hydrogen: `Two-thirds of water, a big part of all of us, and the bones of stars.'

SIEGEL: Carbon: `Dead stars reborn as diamonds, Bucky balls and beings.'

BLOCK: Nitrogen: `The sky's referee. Without its calming effect, oxygen will burn.'

SIEGEL: Mercury: `Liquid silver flows like Hermes' wings and shield made molten by the sun.'

BLOCK: Barium: `The bitter cocktail of a colonoscopy. Grin and barium.'

SIEGEL: Who says scientists have no sense of humor? Well, those are some of the elemental household names. Now for some more exotic offerings.

BLOCK: Xenon: `Oh, noble gas, what thou dost with six fluorines.'

SIEGEL: Seaborgium, named after renowned chemist Glenn Seaborg, an element which we learn has a half-life of less than a second. Here's the haiku. `Just a second. Seaborg and his cyclotron, brand-new elements.'

BLOCK: Berkelium, named for Berkeley, California--in haiku form: `Just academic, protesting commercial use, feels it in his bones.'

SIEGEL: Dysprosium: `Playing hard to get, half-dead in three million years. Can't see your color.'

BLOCK: Osmium: `Glowing density, brighten my yellow brick road, lead me home.'

SIEGEL: Cerium: `Lighter flints contain this metal, which often sparked postcoital prattle.'

BLOCK: And near the end of the periodic table, atomic number 111: unununium, chemical symbol UUU. Here's the SciFiKu: `Shake and shout, unununium, the new reality rag.'

SIEGEL: Just some of the offerings on the Periodic Table of Haiku, which we found at iSciFiStory.com.

(Soundbite of music)

BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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