Can You Name More Than 11 Elements on the Periodic Table From Their Symbols?

SCIENCE

Jonnathan Chadwick

6 Min Quiz

Image: Jon Feingersh Photography Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The periodic table of elements began in 1789, when a French chemist categorized 33 elements into gases, metals, nonmetals and earths. In 1829, a German chemist realized that the elements could be grouped into larger categories. In 1864, chemists began sorting the elements by atomic weight and by 1871, more chemists began tweaking and creating further versions of the table. The table that we're familiar with today is attributed to an American chemist, who created it in 1923. Scientists' journey into understanding life is never-ending, and as recently as 2016, elements have been added to the table.

As of 2016, there were 118 confirmed elements on the periodic table. It's full of solids, liquids and gases, but they're split up into categories like noble metals and noble gases and semi-solids and reactive liquids and nonmetals and metalloids and weird things like halogens and transuranic elements just to make things more complicated. The main thing to know is that the elements are listed by atomic number, which is the number of protons that can be found in the nucleus of that element's atom. For example, hydrogen—No.1—has one proton in its nucleus. Needless to say, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and every living thing contains hydrogen. That's all the hints we'll give you for now. Let's see what you know on your own.

What is the symbol for oxygen?

Oxygen is the third-most abundant element in the universe, the second-most abundant element in the Earth's atmosphere, and the most abundant element in the Earth's crust. It could be considered the most important element on Earth.

Advertisement

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. What is its periodic symbol?

The periodic symbol for hydrogen is "H" and it has the atomic number 1, which means its nucleus has just one proton. It is the most abundant element in the universe and it's what the Sun is made out of. Water, H2O, is made up of 2 hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom, so you can find plenty of hydrogen in the ocean.

Advertisement

What is "Zr," which can be used to create a popular diamond alternative?

The periodic symbol for zirconium is "Zr," and it can form into zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), which is commonly known as zirconia and is a popular alternative to diamonds. Zirconia has a high optical density and is usually colorless.

Advertisement

What is the periodic symbol for helium, which is the second-most abundant element in the universe?

The periodic symbol for Helium is "He" and it is second only to hydrogen as most abundant element in the universe. It is atomic number 2, which means its nucleus has just two protons. It is used to inflate balloons and blimps.

Advertisement

It's healthy to limit sodium intake, which is represented by which of these symbols?

The periodic symbol for sodium is "Na" and it's a silvery-white metal found in several forms on Earth, including rock salt, which is the mineral form of sodium chloride (NaCl), which is what the salt we commonly pour on our food is made out of. It is highly water-soluble and is one of the most dissolved elements in the oceans.

Advertisement

Which of the following elements is represented by "Ti"?

The periodic symbol for titanium is "Ti" and titanium is one of the strongest metals on the planet. It's resistant to corrosion in sea water, chlorine and aqua regia, which is a fuming mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid used to dissolve metals.

Advertisement

What is the periodic symbol for nickel, which makes up a lot of the Earth's core?

The periodic symbol for nickel is "Ni" and a five-cent nickel is made of 75% copper and 25% nickel. Nickel is also the second-most abundant element in the Earth's core. It's a silvery metal that is found in everything from zippers to cell phones.

Advertisement

"Si" makes up a large amount of the Earth's crust. What is it?

The periodic symbol for silicon is "Si" and it makes up more than 27% of the Earth's crust, which makes it the crust's second-most abundant element after oxygen. Silicon can be found in things like pieces of plastic and grains of sand.

Advertisement

What is the periodic symbol for gold?

The periodic symbol for gold is "Au" and in 2019 it was worth more than $1,200 per ounce. Gold is found all over the world except for Antarctica, and the most gold sits in the oceans. The Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa is said to be the one of the most abundant gold reserves ever discovered.

Advertisement

"Pb" is found in pencils and bullets. What is it?

The periodic symbol for lead is "Pb" and it is one of the softest metals on Earth. It is pretty dense but still really malleable and is a toxin that accumulates in human tissue and bones. Lead poisoning affects the nervous system and can cause brain damage. That's why lead paint, or lead in water, is so dangerous.

Advertisement

"Fe" is one of the most abundant elements on Earth but one of the most commonly deficient elements in humans. What is it?

The periodic symbol for iron is "Fe" and it makes up most of Earth's outer and inner core. Iron is the element that took humans out of the Bronze Age and into the Iron Age. An adult human body contains about four grams of iron.

Advertisement

Bananas are known for having a lot of potassium, which is represented by what symbol?

The periodic symbol for potassium is "K" and potassium deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, nausea and a few other problems. Potassium makes up close to 2% of the Earth's crust, but is never found in free form. Potassium metal is so soft it can be cut with a knife.

Advertisement

More than 75% of the atmosphere is made up of nitrogen. What is its periodic symbol?

The periodic symbol for nitrogen is "N" and it's the most abundant element in the atmosphere. It was isolated and discovered by a Scottish physician in 1772 and named by a French chemist in 1790. It's essential in fostering the growth of plants.

Advertisement

A tell-tale sign of the development of nuclear weapons is the storage of a large amount of "U," which is what element?

The periodic symbol for uranium is "U" and it is a silvery metal that is rarely found in nature. The most common use for uranium today is in the use of nuclear weaponry. Exposure and inhalation of uranium can cause major defects in humans.

Advertisement

Unless you are licensed, it is illegal to possess more than one gram of "Pu," which is what element?

The periodic symbol for plutonium is "Pu" and the atom bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 was made with a plutonium core. It is a dangerous metal used for explosives and exposure to it is extremely dangerous and can lead to radiation poisoning, cancer or death.

Advertisement

"As" is a weapon of choice in many mystery novels. What is it?

The periodic symbol for arsenic is "As" and it's a potent poison. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry considers it extremely hazardous. It is usually found in minerals within the Earth's crust and is rarely found in free form.

Advertisement

What is the periodic symbol for neon?

The periodic symbol for neon is "Ne" and it is the fifth-most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon. Although it's abundant in space, it is extremely rare on Earth because it is lighter than air and isn't able to bond to any solids. It is a colorless and odorless gas.

Advertisement

What element is used to create Superman's weakness?

The periodic symbol for krypton is "Kr" and it is the name of the fake planet Krypton where Superman's weakness—kryptonite—comes from. In real life krypton is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can be found is very small amounts in Earth's atmosphere.

Advertisement

Public pools are full of which element?

The periodic symbol for chlorine is "Cl" and it's a pale yellow-green gas that's commonly used in disinfectants. Chlorine in the form of chloride ions is essential for every living thing, and chlorine in the form of gas has been used as a deadly weapon in wars around the world.

Advertisement

The most expensive metal on Earth is rhodium, which is represented by what symbol?

The periodic symbol for rhodium is "Rh" and it's one of the rarest metals on Earth. Rhodium, along with gold, silver, platinum and others, is a noble metal that is resistant to corrosion. It is naturally found on its own.

Advertisement

The lightest metal and lightest solid element in the world is also used to make batteries. What is it?

The periodic symbol for lithium is "Li" and it is a soft, silvery metal that is never found alone on Earth. It is the lightest metal and lightest solid element in the world. It is found in everyday items like batteries, lubricants, ceramics and even pharmaceuticals.

Advertisement

Astatine is the rarest element on Earth, what is its periodic symbol?

The periodic symbol for astatine is "At" and it is the rarest naturally-occurring element on Earth. It is produced from the decay of other elements and is so radioactive that any visible piece would instantly vaporize.

Advertisement

The symbol "Cf" shares a name with one of the biggest states in America.

The periodic symbol for californium is "Cf" and it was discovered at the University of California Radiation Laboratory. It is named after the state of California. It is used for very specific cases like detecting gold and silver and cancer treatments.

Advertisement

What does "Ca" stand for?

The periodic symbol for calcium is "Ca" and it is the third most abundant metal on Earth behind iron and aluminum. It is the most abundant metal in the human body and in nature it is most commonly found in limestone.

Advertisement

Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the atmosphere. What is its periodic symbol?

The periodic symbol for argon is "Ar" and it's the third most abundant gas in the atmosphere and the most abundant gas in the Earth's crust. It is a colorless gas that produces a purple glow when in an electric field.

Advertisement

What does "Cs" stand for, which is considered the softest metal on the planet?

The periodic symbol for caesium is "Cs" and it is the softest metal on the periodic table. It melts slightly above room temperature. Its official melting point is 83.3 degrees Fahrenheit and its appearance is pale gold.

Advertisement

Pennies are made out of which of these elements?

The periodic symbol for copper is "Cu" and pennies are 2.5% copper and 95% zinc. From 1793 to 1837 the penny was 100% copper, and between 1837 and 1982, the penny was always majority copper. All pennies made after 1982 only have a small amount of copper.

Advertisement

If you don't want a silver or gold ring, you could opt for one made out of what expensive metal?

The periodic symbol for platinum is "Pt" and it is one of the most expensive metals found on Earth. It is rather scarce in the Earth's crust and about 80% of the the metal's production occurs in South Africa. It is a silvery-white, lustrous metal.

Advertisement

The Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" was made of what element?

The periodic symbol for tin is "Sn" and it's pretty scarce on Earth. A large percentage is in Southeast Asia and it is produced from naturally-occurring deposits in Earth. It is used on all types of items to coat other metals and prevent corrosion.

Advertisement

How do you write the symbol for Mercury?

The periodic symbol for mercury is "Hg" and it's a liquid metal that is commonly known as quicksilver. At standard conditions it is a heavy, silvery, metallic liquid and it's commonly used in thermometers and fluorescent lighting.

Advertisement

What toxic element is used to make matches and fireworks?

The periodic symbol for sulfur is "S" and it is a bright-yellow, crystalline solid. It is the fifth-most common element on Earth and it's used in everyday items like furniture, fertilizer and pesticides. An active volcano in Indonesia called Ijen is one of the most popular sites to mine sulfur.

Advertisement

It is believed that this colorless, odorless and tasteless noble gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer.

The periodic symbol for radon is "Rn" and it is said to be the second-leading cause of cancer behind cigarette smoking. It is extremely rare since it is produced from the decay of other elements and then decays itself rather quickly.

Advertisement

"W" is considered the strongest natural metal on Earth. What is it?

The periodic symbol for tungsten is "W" and it has the highest melting point (6,192 degrees Fahrenheit) and boiling point (10,706 degrees Fahrenheit) of any element. It also has the highest tensile strength of any metal, which means it requires the most strength to pull apart. It is, however, extremely brittle making it difficult to work with. It shatters almost immediately on impact.

Advertisement

Which of the following elements is represented by "TI"?

The periodic symbol for thallium is "TI." Thallium is found in trace amounts in the Earth's crust and is mostly used in things like camera lenses and fiber optics. It is toxic and harmful to humans and can be lethal, even in small doses.

Advertisement

It makes sense to find "Ag" in which of these Olympic medals?

The periodic symbol for silver is "Ag" and both gold and silver Olympic medals are actually 92% silver. Gold medals are then covered with at least six grams of gold. An ounce of silver is worth about $15 in 2019.

Advertisement

About Zoo

Our goal at Zoo.com is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on Zoo.com.

Explore More Quizzes