After reading Beth’s elemental town-name Newscripts last week, I spent a bit of time looking through Nicholas C. Thomas’ article trying to find the closest elmental town to Washington, D.C. Of the ones listed, Barium Springs, N.C., is the closest, at just under 400 miles away. (Although Alloy, W.Va., is a bit closer, it’s not an elemental name, so I’m not counting it.)
I thought this area should have tons of elementally named towns, what with all the science that goes on here. Maybe we can convince some towns to change their names for the International Year of Chemistry 2011? I’m thinking “Radon, District of Columbia” has a nice ring to it (especially as we’re ringing out Radon Action Month). Or maybe “Lead,” to go with all the contamination we have in our soil and water.
Anyhow, not finding any towns in the area currently named after elements, I was surprised to stumble upon some graffiti on the trash can across the street from my apartment building.
I’m not sure if this is someone’s nickname or a territorial marker, but it made my day and got me thinking, which reminded me of this elementally named night club/lounge/restaurant only blocks from the American Chemical Society headquarters.
So, I did a Google maps search for a bunch of elements in D.C. Not surprisingly, fluorine, sodium, neon, and other commonly known and used elements popped up a lot. But I also found a nice elemental shoe and clothing store just down the road from my apartment.
When I asked Carbon‘s owner, Kevin Powers, whether there was any chemistry behind naming his store, he responded with “I sell shoes, furniture and accessories. At the molecular level, they each include carbon as an element… A nice common ‘bond.’ ”
Most of D.C.’s elemental and chemical names appear in buildings such as this, which houses (although you’d never know it) Alkylphenols & Ethoxylates, the Environmental Arsenic Council, the Chlorinated Paraffins Industry Association, the Acrylonitrile Group, the Emulsion Polymers Council, the Vinyl Acetate Council, et cetera. Not as exciting as the graffiti, night clubs, and shopping options in the area, although the workers in this particular building got to witness a little bit of action a few months ago when a protester stopped traffic in a busy intersection to demand a few million dollars.
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