Greg is a remarkable person to know if you're an element collector, because he's got a few things you're just flat out not going to find anywhere else. This is one that you're not going to get from him either (so don't ask). I'll let him tell the story of this card:
Let me explain...One of the coincidences that happened to me when I was in grad school out at Berkeley finishing up my PhD was that Nobel-laureate Glenn T. Seaborg (as I'm sure you know the discoverer of 9 elements not including Tc-99) was still a professor emeritus (albeit on his "last legs" and barely able to do much of anything). He only showed up on very rare occasions because his health was failing, but I worked very closely with his research group in the preceding years...And anyway, he happened to be at the Glenn Seaborg lecture (a once-a-year lecture that was named in honor of him that received big funding to invite big-name speakers). Well coincidentally he had just been informed that he was given the official name to element 106 as "Seaborgium". Well, having been an avid collector of elements up to that point (only as a grad student) and realizing that I was never going to collect the elements in the 100's, I thought of a once-in-a-lifetime, never to happen again thing...I immediately printed out a bunch of "element placards" ("place-keepers" if you will) of all the elements that Glenn Seaborg discovered (or was named after him). I thought to myself "never again in history do I think that I'll ever get this opportunity"...So I spoke with him like I occasionally did in his infrequently used office and requested that he sign a bunch of these placards so that I could place the elements with his signature on our building's periodic tables (over the "blank squares" that had just numbers like 106 *** on them)...Since obviously it was going to take forever to get them printed in real periodic tables (it was intended originally to be a "quick fix" to our periodic tables)...So, he agreed to sign a bunch of copies of all the element placards that he discovered. I replaced a few in our lab, but I ended up keeping the vast majority of them because I couldn't bear to part with them. My thinking was that there will probably never be a chance in history to have a man "sign" an element that was named after him much like a football player "signs" a football helmet or football. Since so few elements are stable longer than microseconds and most elements will probably be named after historic chemists...It just turned out with my luck that such an historic man lived a verrrrrry long time, and our paths crossed at just the right time (just before he passed away)...Anyway, since we both know we'll never get samples to display of things like Lawrencium, Seaborgium, Nobelium, etc, the next best thing is to have something from the discoverer and one of the few men who has been able to experience these elements no matter how briefly.The Periodic Table Table is deeply honored to be the custodian if this historic object.
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Source: Greg P
Contributor: Greg P
Text Updated: 29 January, 2009