The Elements of MIT
Explore MIT faculty, researcher, staff, and student connections to one of science’s most treasured tabular arrangements.
= Updated for 2020
Colliding beams of helium and carbon could fuse their nuclei to produce oxygen.
On the history and future of fusion, which involves the fusing of hydrogen to produce helium.
First commercial airborne wind turbine using a helium-filled shell, from MIT spinout Altaeros Energies.
Superfluid helium research among professor’s recognized contributions.
An ode to former Building 20, home to Collins Cryostat, a device for producing liquid helium that led to a magnetic resonance imaging technique used in hospitals.
Richard Feynman, MIT alum and cultural icon, made major contributions to fluidity, the frictionless behavior of liquid helium.
In memory of a professor whose contributions included the two-fluid theory of liquid helium.
Produced naturally at high altitudes, beryllium provides insights into the effects of aviation emissions.
Scientists sleep easy after beryllium target generates neutrinos, validating the Standard Model of Particle Physics.
Again the target of friendly fire, beryllium faces off against protons to produce muons, elementary particles with the same charge as electrons and 200 times the mass.
An advanced MRI using fluorine can track living cells.
Fibers detect and produce sound by varying fluorine content.
Students discover high levels of fluorine in the soil surrounding the most active Hawaiian volcano.
Fluorine among the elements providing evidence of a possible mass extinction 250 million years ago.
Fluorine replaces hydrogen for a more simple method to make complex emulsions.
Attaching fluorine to drug compounds could make drugs more potent.
Study showing nearly three times more neon in the sun than previously believed provides the key to developing future theoretical models.
Chlorine among the elements providing evidence of a possible mass extinction 250 million years ago.
MIT Legatum Center awards seed grant to social enterprise Zimba, with an automatic chlorine doser to be piloted in rural India.
Periwinkle plant uses bacterial genes to attach chlorine to compounds for creating more effective cancer drugs.
Making drugs more potent by binding molybdenum to chlorine.
Ratio of potassium to argon shows the moon’s molten core was likely sustained by an alternative power source.
Dark matter detector uses liquid argon.
Low-cost, high-capacity, rechargeable bromine battery to enable widespread adoption of intermittent energy sources including solar and wind.
Periwinkle plant uses bacterial genes to attach bromine to compounds for creating more effective cancer drugs.
A crystal containing cerium undergoes a new type of magnetically driven electrical response.
Cerium oxide plays a key role in catalytic converters that convert carbon monoxide and nitric oxide into benign gases.
Cerium oxide, used in fuel cells, shown to expand because of an increase in charge localization.
Cerium nanoparticles powers bionic plants.
Acting as either an electrical insulator or conductor, depending on its temperature.
Ratios of strontium to neodymium show India joined with Asia 10 million years later than previously thought.
Study involving neodymium supports new theory about the development of Earth’s early continental crust.
Neodymium glass at the heart of the ambitious effort to measure nuclear fusion.
Gadolinium overlays used in a device controlling microchip magnetism, opening the doors to computing that consumes drastically less power.
Gadolinium compound demonstrates paired topology and intrinsic magnetism.
Gadolinium emits visible colors when exposed to near-infrared light, in research of smartphone-readable microparticles.
Gadolinium a key ingredient for low-power data storage.
Magnetic layer of gadolinium demonstrates nanoscale quasi-particles known as skyrmions.
Erbium emits visible colors when exposed to near-infrared light, in research of smartphone-readable microparticles.
Professor’s breakthroughs include an on-chip erbium laser using standard silicon manufacturing techniques.
Thulium emits visible colors when exposed to near-infrared light, in research of smartphone-readable microparticles.
Ytterbium emits visible colors when exposed to near-infrared light, in research of smartphone-readable microparticles.
Ratios of lutetium to hafnium measured in research showing India joined with Asia 10 million years later than previously thought.
Insights into hafnium dioxide, a material compatible with silicon processing technology, paves the way for new data applications.
Hafnium for extending life and improving performance of fuel cell electrodes.
Measuring thorium determines how quickly dust accumulates on the seafloor.
Graduate student awarded for research involving dissolved thorium in seawater.
Analysis of a rare thorium isotope shows the Sahara swung between green and desert conditions every 20,000 years.
Thorium analysis, this time in stalagmite aging, shows the widespread forest loss in Madagascar 1,000 years ago not due to climate change, but to humans making way for grazing cattle.
Phytoplankton shown to be extremely sensitive to changing levels of desert dust, thanks to an analysis of the removal rate of thorium on the ocean’s surface.
Professor investigates the use of thorium in nuclear reactors to enhance fuel efficiency.
MIT science editor quilts a commemoration that includes Lise Meitner, who identified an isotope of protactinium.
A reactor system using uranium-based fuel could function for up to 12 years in space.
Uranium analysis shows the widespread forest loss in Madagascar 1,000 years ago not due to climate change, but to humans making way for grazing cattle.
Early nuclear device can be handled with bare hands, due to the naturally low radiation emissions of its uranium parts.
Student group wins an award for developing an inexpensive hydrogel to extract uranium from water to provide more fuel for nuclear power plants.
Professor recognized for pioneering work in plutonium research.
In memory of a professor and distinguished theoretical astrophysicist who assisted in transporting the plutonium core to the first test site of the Manhattan Project.
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This table was first created for National Periodic Table Day in 2019. It is updated annually.