Atomic Number Memory Pegs: 1-20

©John P. Pratt, all rights reserved
Icons drawn by David R. Pratt
16 September 1997

Using these Atomic Number Memory Pegs is described in the explanation They are also arranged in the shape of a traditional periodic table as well as Pawlowski's new circular periodic table (described elsewhere).

1. Hydrant (Hydrogen H). Blue for "first place" (blue ribbon) and for water, its principal compound; tall and thin, shaped like a "1". Hydrant sounds like hydrogen (both refer to water).

2. Helium Balloon (Helium He). Silver colored for "second place" (silver medal); a noble color for a noble gas.

3. Lithium watch battery (Lithium Li), 3-volt. Lilac colored (sounds like lithium and all three natural minerals are lilac colored).

4. Beryl-studded Belt Buckle (Beryllium Be). Rectangular (4 sides), with four pink beryls (beryl is a pink gem: beryllium aluminum silicate).

5. Box of Borax (Boron B). 5-pound box, dark brown, the color of pure boron (borax is hydrated sodium borate).

6. Charcoal pencil (Carbon C). Black, the color of charcoal and also of graphite (carbon) in pencil leads. Hexagonal (6-sided).

7. Dynamite, or Nitroglycerin (Nitrogen N). Two red sticks, shaped like a "7" (most explosives contain nitrogen).

8. Oxygen-filled Lifepreservers (Oxygen O). White for air, which preserves life. Two of them touching, shaped like an "8".

9. Fluoride Toothpaste (Fluorine F). Purple, the color of the mineral fluorite (calcium fluoride), and shaped like a 9.

10. Neon Sign (Neon Ne). Shaped like a "10," flashing orange, like the orange/red color of neon in neon signs.

11. Narrow Soda Crackers (Sodium Na). Two of them, bright yellow, shaped like an "11," like the bright yellow sodium D spectral lines. Sodium is named for soda (sodium carbonate).

12. Mug. (Magnesium Mg) 12 oz. green mug made of olivine (magnesium silicate), filled with milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide). Magnesium in chlorophyll gives plants their green color.

13. Aluminum Ladder (Aluminum Al). Unlucky to walk under, and 13 is unlucky. Turquoise (blue-green) colored (turquoise is hydrated aluminum phosphate.

14. Silicon Chip (Silicon Si). It as 14 pins, and is the tan color of sand (silicon dioxide) or sandstone (silica).

15. Phosphorus Matches (Phosphorus P). Red/white striped book of 15, heads white, striker red (there are both white and red forms of phosphorus). The matches could light the dynamite (nitrogen) in the periodic table.


16. Sulfuric Acid (Sulfur S). One pint (16 oz.), pale yellow in a flask.

17.Clorox (Chlorine Cl). Yellow-green bottle, the color of chlorine gas ("chloros" means yellow-green in Greek). Cleans 17 ways (Clorox is sodium hypochlorite). Note that Clorox has no letter "h" making it easy to remember the abbreviation Cl.


18. Argon-filled Fluorescent Light (Argon Ar). 18-inch, sky-blue (air is 1% argon).

19. Kettle, or Pot of gray Ashes (Potassium K). 19th-century way to make soap from potash (potassium is named for potash, potassium carbonate or hydroxide, which is named for the pot of ashes used to obtain it).

20. Calcite Pearls (Calcium Ca). Ivory A string of 20 pearls. Calcite is a form of calcium carbonate.

Atomic Numbers 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-105
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