Talk:Symbol (chemistry)

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Symbol Explanations[edit]

Would it make sense to, for the elements where the symbol isn't obvious, to put the origin of the symbol on this page? yes it would that i you should know

Done. -Thibbs (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Tentative Symbols[edit]

Would it make sense to add the symbols of element names such as Io for Ionium, Cb for Columbium and Eb for Ekaboron that were once used or proposed, but are no longer officially used?

It seems that this has now been added to the page and while I do believe that this section is historically interesting, there are a huge number of these tentative symbols. The table we currently have is much smaller than it has potential to be given the number of once-used names. I would suggest that this section be greatly expanded and then made into a collapsible table which we could do for all tables which do not display currently used names.
As a second point, I also think that we should avoid the use of names which were never used in literature although they fit a naming scheme. For example, although one could imagine the term EkaHolmium (using Mendeleyev's scheme) or Ennennium (using the IUPAC scheme) as systematically generated tentative names for Einsteinium, we should refrain from including it in the table since (to my knowledge at least) neither name was ever used. -Thibbs (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia school[edit]

I need to be able to get to information of how many electrons, neutrons, and protons. also find out some information on the atomic mass and the atomic numbers in all of the periodic table. This comment was written in the main article by 216.125.165.194 at 18:11, 8 April 2006 (UTC).

For atomic numbers, atomic masses etc. see for example periodic table (detailed) or list of elements by atomic number. The number of protons equals the atomic number Z (e.g. 6 for C). The number of electrons also equals Z in neutral atoms. Regarding neutrons see for example isotope table (divided). The number of neutrons equals the you should know this even if it boringmass number A (e.g. 13 for the isotope ¹³C) minus Z. --Eddi (Talk) 21:40, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Please see WP:TALK -Thibbs (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Proposed, Former and Suggested[edit]

I would like to clarify here about the above three terms, because originally, there are so many symbols are "proposed". I think there should not be too much "proposal" of symbols, and I found that's true. To tell you ostensibly how I categorize the symbols that are not currently used, I clarify what "Proposed", "Former" and "Suggested" describe.
"Proposed" describes name/symbol that is nominated during acceptance of corresponding "permanent" name/symbol by internation standards organization (current is International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry).
"Former" describes name/symbol that is existed before acceptance of corresponding "permanent" name/symbol by internation standards organization.
"Suggested" describes name/symbol that is adverted after acceptance of corresponding "permanent" name/symbol by internation standards organization.
Obviously, "Proposed", "Former" and "Suggested" name/symbol are not a part of standard, but distinguishing what the non-standard name/symbol belongs is important for us know the reality. 195.239.158.54 17:36, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure I properly understand the difference between your use of the terms "Proposed" and "Suggested." According to my understanding there would be no "Symbols not currently used" which would fall under "suggested." In the meanwhile, I had independently come to the same conclusion as you that the differences between "symbols not currently used" should be clarified and I BOLDly made the change without referencing talk first. The scheme I had come up with split these names into 4 subcategories.
  • Category 1 - Name changed due to a standardization of, modernization of, or update to older previously used symbol.
  • Category 2 - Name designated by discredited/disputed claimant.
  • Category 3 - Name proposed prior to discovery/creation of element or prior to official re-naming of a placeholder name.
  • Category 4 - Temporary placeholder name.
As I see it, my Category 1 is the same as your "Former" category, my Category 3 is the same as your "Proposed" category. I notice that my Category 3 contains the word "proposed" in it and as such I think we are generally in agreement on this. My Category 1, however, does not contain the word "former" and I propose that as my scheme is but a modification of yours and as there is no remarkable difference between our use of these two categories, my category 1 should be modified to include the word "former." -Thibbs (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)



I found this absolutely wonderful and thorough site that has virtually every proposed symbol and name. Rather than going through each element, the owner kindly made a separate page, each linking to the source. It is very well cited. I recently added some former symbols, but I would like to make our list complete using this. It also his pictorial symbols for some. MANY OF THESE are not on our list, and it's quite daunting. But here is the root list:

"Names That Did Not Make It"

Also, it includes suggested names for even the yet to be discovered 118 (uuo), and if we include that, we should also include [[1]] — Preceding unsigned comment added by JES1981 (talkcontribs) 20:17, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

Other symbols that look like element symbols[edit]

I have just added the symbols Ar (aryl) and Bu (butyl) to this section. Obviously the section is not intended to be a comprehensive list of short chemistry abbreviations but I believe these two are common ones that are just as notable as some of those already listed, particularly Ar, the chemical element symbol for argon. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by I-hunter (talkcontribs) 13:45, 29 January 2007 (UTC).

Oops, sorry! I-hunter 13:47, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Iupiter vs. Jupiter[edit]

There have been several edits in the past which have changed the word "Iupiter" to "Jupiter" under Pictographic symbols. According to the Lapp source the correct spelling is, in fact, "Iupiter" and not "Jupiter." I suspect that these edits are mainly attempts at typo-correction, but unfortunately in this case these well-intentioned edits are unsupported by verifiable sources. -Thibbs (talk) 15:54, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Corruptions?[edit]

I'm not quite sure why words like Actinum and Bismuth are described as corruptions. Aren't these words rather standard transliterations from Greek and German into Latin? I suggest getting rid of the word corruption, or replacing it with "transliteration". Rwflammang (talk) 14:00, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

I agree. This sounds reasonable. -Thibbs (talk) 19:14, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Accessibility[edit]

In some cases the explanatory use of colour may be of great assistance to those who are primarily visual-spatial coders. Removing colour from this page, even with the best of intentions, will make the subject that much more difficult to conceptualise for countless people like me who think in pictures and need colour content to facilitate understanding.

It seems this is a little far to go in assuaging concerns pertaining to one disability, as this creates problems for those of us with different disabilities. Removing colour wouldn't be a proportional response to the problem. However, it might be possible to offer an "accessible" version of the page for those who cannot perceive the full spectrum, and keep a full-colour version for those who learn best with colour coding. Otherwise, a useful article will be drained of a good deal of its explanatory and expository capacity, which would be regrettable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.33.1.185 (talk) 08:38, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Symbol etymology[edit]

Why does the symbol etymology column, when the element's symbol is immediately obvious from the name, list instead the etymology of the element's name and not stay blank, or simply show the element's name with the letters devoted to the symbol in bold? Elium2 (talk) 21:02, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

If the element's symbol is obvious from its name then it's clear that the same etymology would be applicable to both the name and the symbol. Etymological origin isn't exclusive, so just because the name of the element has an origin X doesn't mean that the symbol can't have the same origin X (especially if the symbol is obvious from the name). I think we'd have to change the column header from "Etymology of symbol" to "Etymology of symbol (unless shared with the element's name)" if we were to do away with those entries and I don't think that would look aesthetically pleasing. -Thibbs (talk) 22:27, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Atomic Weight Sorting[edit]

Maybe no one cares, but if you try to sort the element table by weight, it seems to sort by string or something rather than by numerical means. Am I reading the table wrong or is it completely broken? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.204.161.133 (talk) 02:42, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I noticed the same thing. The weight column is necessarily a string field because it contains brackets within many of its elements. You would therefore be better off sorting by atomic number, which closely parallels the corresponding weight. --Glenn L (talk) 06:44, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Problem solved. -Thibbs (talk) 18:50, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

WildBot announcements[edit]

YesY Problem addressed, so I've shifted these tags down the page for transparency. -Thibbs (talk) 12:48, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

OK now that I understand how WildBot works, I've restore the template so that it can delete itself when it's ready. Sorry for the confusion. -Thibbs (talk) 15:17, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Merge chemical symbol to here?[edit]

The two pages seem to be trying to be identical in scope, and there's nothing on chemical symbol that wouldn't integrate well into this page. 93.96.208.82 (talk) 19:39, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

Not a bad idea in theory. I'd give it a mild support. -Thibbs (talk) 20:09, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good. I did not see a difference in definition. Target name Symbol is good too. -DePiep (talk) 20:43, 21 February 2013 (UTC)
Agree. The other article is pretty short, so it would be good to merge them together. -- (T) Numbermaniac (C) 09:36, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Support As 93.96.208.82 suggests, the two articles have the same scope, and as Numbermaniac suggests their content could fit into a single article. Cnilep (talk) 02:59, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Shouldn't the merge go the other way? Agree they should be merged. --John (talk) 05:43, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
    • No. Content-wise this article is several times larger in size and is supported by several times as many sources. Did you mean just in terms of the article title? -Thibbs (talk) 10:33, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
      • Yes, that's what I meant. --John (talk) 13:50, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I'd say let's not do that (a merge is still ok of course). Within the topic domain (let's say chemistry & physics), the words "chemical symbol" are rarely if ever used for this. More to the point is "element symbol", or simply better "symbol" (as our element pages show). Within this topic "symbol" is the common word.
Now in wiki, other topic domains enter that also use the word "symbol" internally (like IPA alphabet, astrology). For this reason we need to WP:DISAMBIGUATE our word. And that is done by adding a bracketed postfix, like (chemical element). Disambiguation clearly does not ask us to specify a correct title by changing it; it points to the bracketed addition and keep the title correct. That is why we better keep using symbol (chemical element). -DePiep (talk) 23:10, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
That's a good point, DePiep. I was thinking of "element symbol" anyway. I'm not sure how we could determine whether "symbol" is more commonly used in the literature or "element symbol", but anyway the merge should result in redirects either way so readers using either term should be able to find their way. -Thibbs (talk) 02:06, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Once we agree there should be some disambiguation term (=brackets), we can zoom in on the exact wordings indeed.
About your detailed point (content page to be named "element symbol" or "symbol"?; "chemical symbol" now disapproved by both of us IIC). I know one guideline: when there is a choice, use the simplest one. First te wp:title page points to use WP:COMMONNAME, we already get. Then WP:PRECISION says we better use the simplest form. That would be "symbol" then ("element symbol" can redirect, especially since the content title will have a DAB term). This would save us to research most common used word(s) within chemistry & physics; there will be no clear winner I expect.
My personal preference would be, following these guidelines and because the simple form is not wrong in any way, to move the merged content page to symbol (chemical element).
Note that we could push the merge forward already. A page move/title change can be done afterwards, as a separate independent conclusion. -DePiep (talk) 11:51, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
That sounds good to me. It's been months without a single voice of opposition and our recent back-and-forth is highlighting the issue for anyone currently watching the page. It looks to me like there's a general consensus to merge. -Thibbs (talk) 12:21, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Symbol (chemical element) is an overdisambiguated title. There is no article at symbol (astrological element) or symbol (IPA element). Perhaps symbol (element) would be sufficiently disambiguous for our purposes? --John (talk) 16:11, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
or Symbol (chemistry)? "element" in science can mean different things (at neighbouring maths for example). No big issue for me this. -DePiep (talk) 16:54, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
Symbol (chemistry) would work. --John (talk) 12:39, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Fine with me. Go ahead. -DePiep (talk) 15:24, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Done, and I performed the merge as well. --John (talk) 16:28, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
The merge is not done well. The lead only accounts for symbol (element), and not for other symbols in chemstry like tBu which isnt a "internationally agreed code for a chemical element" Christian75 (talk) 09:22, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
For reference, here is a link to the old merged article and this is a record of the merge to this article where it can be seen that the old lede defining "the symbols of a chemical element" as:
was altered to define "a chemical symbol" as:
So I'm not sure I can agree that the merge was problematic. It would seem that tBu which isnt a "internationally agreed code for a chemical element" is also not an "abbreviation that is used to denote a chemical element" or that has "been officially chosen by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry." Most likely tBu would have fallen outside the scope of both articles. If you believe it should be added to Wikipedia (and why not? I agree it should be.) then I'd try TBU or even Symbol (chemistry)#Other symbols. -Thibbs (talk) 10:40, 4 May 2014 (UTC)
Okey, it wasnt a bad merge (because both articles where about symbol as in chemical element). I assumed it wasnt. But the article as it is now, is more generally about chemical symbols, and tBu (tert butyl) is listed in this article, like other chemical symbols for groups of atoms. And therefore the lead should be rewritten to reflect this. Christian75 (talk) 19:36, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Why is the symbol for Strontium Sr?[edit]

Does anyone know why the symbol for Strontium is Sr? I would have expected it to be St following the convention of most (many) of the other elements. An explanation in this article would be informative.__DrChrissy (talk) 18:41, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

What else for strontium you expect? -DePiep (talk) 18:55, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Tin is Sn. They don't all follow the same pattern. -- (T) Numbermaniac (C) 09:39, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Piped links in the "Current symbols" table[edit]

The table in the section "Current symbols" uses WP:piped links to display the Latin, Greek, etc. word from which the symbol is derived while linking to its English equivalent. This also causes the English word to pop up, "tool tips" style, in most browsers. In response to my question at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Linking#Innovative use of piping on Symbol (chemical element) another user calls this "Definitely an improper use of piping." Is there another style – maybe plain text or some formatting designed for tool tips – that might avoid the problems of linking to DAB pages or to Wiktionary? Cnilep (talk) 02:43, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

The bulk of that material was added in 2006, long before tooltips were in common use. And today even tooltips are off limits for that sort of thing because of WP:NOSYMBOLS. I've just been leaving that info as it is because it didn't seem like it was causing any problems but if it violates the MoS to link to Wiktionary and you feel it would look better in another format or that it should simply be removed then I don't think anyone could stop you short of an appeal to IAR. So go ahead and be bold. -Thibbs (talk) 03:50, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Hm, that page (Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Accessibility) recommends against using 'tooltips or any other "hover" text' (emphasis added) except for abbreviations using {{abbr}}. The chart can probably accommodate both words in one column. Cnilep (talk) 06:02, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Again, I think the explanation for the link hovertext is that it was added in 2006 before WP:ACCESS was part of the MoS. Anyway it looks fine now. The only suggestion I'd make is to reinstate a reworded version of the original note at the top since it may not be intuitively obvious that the bracketed words are a translation. Oh also I think you missed the pipelink translation for "Rheinprovinz". Otherwise it looks like it's very much in conformance now. Thanks. -Thibbs (talk) 10:41, 3 July 2013 (UTC)