The Critical Element

The Critical Element
A critical element
Elements of Criticality
An element of criticality

Phosphor. Helium. Tantalum. Holmium. Indium. Some elements are rare these days. They existed in abundance for about fourteen billion years, until they recently became ‘critical’, due to excessive mining and their fundamental role within the global economy. This is, what critical means: The elements are as rare as they are fundamental to the way we live.Take Phosphor. Phosphor emerged, when stars exploded. After floating through the universe for half an eternity, it became one of the basic elements of all life on earth. To withdraw it from the life-cycle, it is usually harvested by distilling faeces until they start to gleam - or can be used as fertilizer and preservatives to feed the world. The international phosphor-based food industry that arose in the twentieth century is about as fundamental to the world economy as oil. That’s what criticality also means: Elements that provide a perspective on that, what is. By the way, Holmium was named after Stockholm. Whatever that means.


Chemical Element

Atomic number: 15
Atomic mass: 30.974 u
Type: Polyatomic nonmetal
Appearance: Colourless, waxy white, yellow, scarlet, red, violet, black
Phase: Solid


Chemical Element

Atomic number: 2
Atomic mass: 4.0026 u
Type: Noble gas
Appearance: Colorless gas, exhibiting a red-orange glow when placed in a high-voltage electric field
Phase: Gas


Chemical Element

Atomic number: 73
Atomic mass: 180.95 u
Type: Transition metal
Appearance: Gray blue
Phase: Solid


Chemical Element

Atomic number: 67
Atomic mass: 164.93 u
Type: Lanthanide
Appearance: Silvery white
Phase: Solid


Chemical Element

Atomic number: 49
Atomic mass: 114.82 u
Type: Post-transition metal
Appearance: Silvery lustrous gray
Phase: Solid

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