Thulium, “Periodic Table” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Thulium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry”” series (#69, Tm)
7/18/13

Scroll to Medieval times,
and see a classical map.

Look over the Carta Marina,
because there you can find
what some theorized
as an island of antiquity —
through for those who traveled
by boat around Britain,
the Thule was the most northerly
of the Britannic Islands.
In ancient literature, however,
the Ultima Thule
was the symbol for
a far-off land,
something unattainable.

And when Thulium was discovered
in the late eighteen hundreds
(named after Thule,
as a mythical region
in Scandinavia),
the element was so rare that
it’s qualities were unattainable…

But even though this is
the rarest of the rare,
and despite the high cost,
it’s in the YAG laser, used
for laser surgery, for work
unattainable by the human hand.
It’s even bombarded
in a nuclear reactor
for it’s use in portable
x-ray devices,
so we can see
what was otherwise
unattainable to the naked eye.

I mean, because of
Thulium’s fluorescence,
it’s even inside euro banknotes,
to prevent counterfeiting.

Because Thulium fluoresces
with a deep blue hue,
we’ll sail the oceans
to learn, we’ll go to
the farthest places we know,
just to see trace glimpses,
because we want to go beyond
what we see…

Terbium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Terbium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#65, Tb)
7/17/13

Looking for better sound
remains at the top of the list.

Having better stereo speakers
at all group parties, meetings or settings,

having a portable sound system
anyone could take with them,

even using sound while in the car
to reduce traffic noise, hear better music,

or talk hands-free on your smart phone.

The possibilities seem endless,
but stereo speakers take up space —

so we need to use science and technology
to even help us meet our audio needs.

Companies create better and better
sound systems, earbuds for iPods

have grown smaller and smaller,
even with noise-canceling technology…

There has to be a way to use the world
around us to get us exactly what we have

decided we need.

So, after just a little research,
I discovered an element twice as common

as silver on this planet, and when it is mixed
into a compound, Terbium can help create

a “Soundbug” speaker that can turn
any flat surface into a flat panel speaker.

(Any flat surface, like an office window,
or your dining room table at home.)

You see, the Terbium-filled Soundbug
can be plugged into a headphone socket

and then suction to any flat surface —
literally turning that surface into a speaker.

Now, this Terbium-rich Soundbug
is only the size of a computer mouse,

and retailing at less than fifty bucks,
they’re targeting this to the youth market;

but a wide-range of technology users
are going to love this little gadget

that can re-purpose everyday flat surfaces
into speakers for all sorts of sound needs.

The thicker the flat material surface, the
better the sound quality of the Terbium-laced

Soundbug speaker, and yeah, the resonance
of the speaker material (wood, glass, metal)

can effect the final sound quality,
but in theory you could daisy-chain

a few of these Terbium Soundbugs together
to excite multiple electrical currents of the music

players, to excite the mock speakers,
to bring every party to life in richer stereo.

Now, I know Terbium is like a
“Swiss Army knife” for cancer diagnosis,

and I know it’s green luminescence
gives color enrichment to tee tees

and is even used in fluorescent lamps,
or lasers, or semiconductor devices…

But this whole “using what we have
to multi-purpose what we have” idea

is really beginning to stick with me.
This audio technology can work with

magnetostriction, like, in a car instead
of in a business meeting or a party:

in a car, the Terbium Soundbug
could create noise-insulating windows,

blocking out the excessive sounds of traffic
(and you know how I hate the sound of traffic…).

But to business workers in a car,
the mobile phone version of the Terbium

Soundbug could be stuck to a car windshield,
to allow hands-free, headset-free talking.

(Well, that may cost a little more
than the indoors Terbium Soundbug,

but no price is too high to stop people
from staring at their phones while driving,

right?)

So yeah, although it is more common
on earth than silver, Terbium may still be

hard to get sometimes — but if we can find
this many uses for this element,

I’m sure it’s demand will increase, because
pretty soon, Terbium will be desired

more than anything.

Roentgenium, “Periodic Table of Poetry” poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

Roentgenium

Janet Kuypers

from the “Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#111, Rg)
7/2/13

Being in just the right place
at just the right time
is what getting what you want
is all about.

#

Thirteen nuclear researchers
bombarded Bismuth two oh nine
with Nickel sixty four ions
to make the Nickel penetrate
the Bismuth nucleus,
so they’d come together
to make a bigger atom.

So the Nickel had to go fast enough
to penetrate the Bismuth nuclei
(not too fast, but not too slow),
and still, you’d lose a lot of atoms
to
space.

Enough experiments,
enough times,
created more atoms
of element
one one one.

They looked for so long,
and no one knows for sure
what Roentgenium looks like,
so the researchers started
predicting it’s properties
because it has such a short
half life.

#

And on the anniversary
of when this all came together
in just the right way,
at just the right time,
that’s when John Hinckley,
after stalking the rock star
and watching his habits,
that’s when he walked
from the sidewalk
and shot John Lennon.

Because as I said,
you have to be
in just the right place
at just the right time
to make everything
come together,
don’t you.

#

But if we got enough
of one one one,
we’d love this precious metal —
even if only for a short while.