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Periodic table: Not so 'elementary'

Date published: 12/9/2012

Periodic table: Not so 'elementary'

I appreciate Jacky Joyner McDaniel's fascination with the periodic table and appreciation for the scientists who worked hard to discover its mysteries and patterns ["Periodic table offers proof of a Supreme Being," Nov. 25]. There are several major errors in the facts presented, though, that I feel must be addressed.

First, the atomic number is not the number of electrons but the number of protons of an atom. Atoms such as hydrogen can and often exist freely with just their protons and no electrons.

Second, we have produced elements in the lab or as McDaniel states "a test tube." It has recently been done using bacteria to produce gold, what we call microbial alchemy.

I certainly hope our institutes of higher learning are not giving students false information. We have plenty of younger students in this country that are not up to par in the sciences.

Dara Dawson