England players in their element!
21 June 2006
In honour of England reaching the knock-out stages of this year's World Cup, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has issued a periodic table of England's squad.
And there are some interesting similarities between the England stars and their elemental counterparts - plus some scientific inspiration for Sven in his dilemma over who to play up-front.
Les Kershaw, RSC member and manager of Manchester United's Football Academy, said: "It's amusing to see how the England squad have similar qualities to their matching elements - I'm sure Wayne Rooney will be happy with his comparison to Tungsten, since he is known for being quick and breaking through defences!
"Like the rest of the country, everyone at the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Man Utd Academy are right behind England and are hoping they win the World Cup."
Wayne Rooney - W - Tungsten. The striker is known for being fast, on target and breaking through defences on the pitch, so should be pleased to know that the uses of this metal include the making of missiles, rocket nozzles and armour piercing bullets! Tungsten is also known for its toughness - it has the highest melting point of any element, and is used in light bulb filaments, high speed tool bits and paints. The symbol W comes from the word wolfram - given by German ore miners who said that tin ores containing tungsten had lower tin content, and that the tungsten had devoured the tin like a wolf.
Peter Crouch - Cr - Chromium -A shiny metal, one of the main uses of Chromium is to plate other metals to protect them, giving them a lustrous appearance (it is combined with iron to make stainless steel). With Crouch's taste for robotics, the pair make a good match! Chromium is also used to tint glass and is responsible for the green colour in emeralds and the red in rubies.
David Beckham - Be - Beryllium. Many have questioned the performance of the England captain throughout this world cup - but should he be dropped, at least he'll be able to spend some time on the golf course as his element is used in golf clubs! The lightweight yet strong nature of Beryllium means it is also used in aircraft brakes, missile parts and springs.
Stephen Gerrard - S - Sulphur - Like the Liverpool and England stalwart, sulphur can be used in any number of different positions! Among its many uses, Sulphur is used to strengthen rubber, and to make one of the world's most important industrial chemicals - sulphuric acid, and in fireworks and hair colourings.
Michael Owen - Mo - Molybdenum. The ailing striker has always been known for his pace, and so it is fitting that Molybdenum is used in making missiles and aircraft parts! And without the traces of molybdenum in soil, there would be no grass on football pitches - it is an essential nutrient that plants use to build proteins.
Joe Cole - Co - Cobalt - The Chelsea star is used to appearing in blue, and many salts of this metallic element are used to produce the deep blue colourings which are used in pottery, glass, and enamels. It is also used in jet engine alloys and in razor blades, should Joe need a quick shave.
Rio Ferdinand - Fe - Iron - Known for his strength and versatility, the defender will be very happy with his twin element. Iron is one of the most abundant and useful elements on the planet, and is used for all kinds of things such as building bridges, cars, boats and tools, not forgetting goalposts!
Ashley Cole - As -Arsenic - The arsenal and England left back might be shocked that his twin element is most well known for its historic role as a poison. But there are plenty of other uses - including fireworks, laser materials and bronzing - which might not upset him quite so much!
Theo Walcott - Th - Thorium. The England debutant has appeared in the press a lot of late, and the thorium used in high quality camera lenses is one of the things that has made that possible. It is also used in portable gas lights and in the petroleum industry, as well as being a source of nuclear energy.
Paul Robinson - Pr - Praseodymium. He's England's star goalie on the pitch, but does Paul Robinson want to be a film star? If so, this unusually-named metal is used in the carbon arc lights used in the motion picture industry. And although he doesn't smoke, if he ever needs to light a cigarette for a friend, another use of praseodymium is in the manufacture of lighters.
Sven may need some inspiration on which strikers to line up now Michael Owen is out injured - if so, Wayne Rooney's Tungsten and Theo Walcott's Thorium are a good match - they are used together in making search lights.
But a better choice might be to use Stephen Gerrard in an up-front role, since his versatile element Sulphur forms blends with all three of Tungsten (Rooney), Chromium (Crouch) and Walcott (Thorium) to form compounds.
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