88.5% of people can't guess these elements from just one image. Can you?

By: Narra Jackson
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Think back to your last chemistry class - how many elements can you remember? Can you remember what they look like? 88.5% of people can't guess these elements from looking at one image. Can you? Prove it and challenge your friends!

Helium is the second most abundant element in the universe. In 1928 helium became available on the open market for the first time. The helium we buy in cylinders is produced by the natural decay of radioactive elements in the earth’s crust.

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Carbon is one of the few elements that has been known and used since ancient times. It was named as an element by Antoine Lavoisier in 1789.

While experimenting on liquid air, Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers discovered neon in 1898. Neon is the second lightest inert gas, as well as being the second-lightest noble gas, after helium. Neon is about two-thirds as dense as air.

Sulfur has been in use since ancient times, and it is mentioned in the Bible and the Torah. Sulfur occurs naturally as an element but can also be found in a number of compounds and minerals. Its name comes from the Sanskrit word "sulvere."

Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus in 1669 by extracting it from buckets of urine. It is sometimes referred to as the "Devil's Element," because it was the thirteenth element discovered and because of its explosive properties.

Scientists in the eighteenth century recognized that there was a component of air that did not support combustion, which is when they discovered nitrogen. In 1772, Daniel Rutherford discovered what he called "noxious air," air that didn't contain oxygen.

Aluminium is present in more than 270 minerals. Aluminium salts do not serve any known purpose in plant or animal life. Because of aluminium's high likelihood of binding with oxygen, pure aluminium is almost never found in nature.

Sodium chloride is the most common compound of chlorine and it is abundant on Earth, especially in seawater. Chlorine is a widely used oxidizing agent. It is also potentially a reactive agent. In many of chloride's forms, chlorine is vital for living organisms.

Argon's most common isotope, Ar-40, became a part of the Earth's atmosphere after K-40, a radioactive isotope of potassium, decayed from the Earth's crust. NASA probes have discovered argon in Mercury's atmosphere and on Saturn's moon Titan.

Magnesium is present in over sixty minerals of Earth, but only a few of those are commercially valuable. Magnesium is the eleventh most abundant element in the humand body by weight. Magnesium is not found on Earth as a free element.

Iron plays a vital role in oxygen transport throughout the body. Iron's characteristics are so stable that iron is often used for comparison and calibration. Ferrite is the most stable form of iron under normal conditions.

Bromine was discovered by Antoine J Balard in 1826. Bromine does not occur naturally on Earth as an element. Bromine's easy solubility means it has built up in the oceans through leaching. Most bromine produced is extracted from brine.

Leonardo da Vinci first proposed that air was made up of two gasses, one for breathing and one for fueling fire. Oxygen can be produced for commercial use by the fractional distillation of liquefied air. It is used in cellular respiration for all life.

The Statue of Liberty is made from 179,000 pounds of copper. Copper is 100% recyclable and nearly 80% of the copper that has been produced is still used today. Copper can be recycled without any changes to its properties. It retains 95% of its original value.

Zinc is the 24th most common element in the planet's crust. Zinc production today is from nearly 70% mining and 30% recycling. Zinc burns with a very bright blue-green flare. Almost all zinc (95%) is mined from sulfide ore deposits.

Silver was found to be separated from lead by civilizations are early as 3000 BC. Several countries have been mining silver since the 1500s. There are twenty-eight known radioactive isotopes of silver.

Iodine was discovered in 1811 by Barnard Courtois. Iodine plays a very important role in the biology of all living organisms. Most iodine produced each year is used in livestock feed. Iodine is probably most well-known for its use as a disinfectant.

Platinum has been in use by ancient civilizations in Central and South America. South Africa is the leading producer of refined platinum, controlling 77% of the global share. Platinum has six isotopes that occur in nature.

In 1817, Friedrich Stromeyer discovered cadmium after isolating it from zinc carbonate. Cadmium is often used as a protective coating on metals because it is naturally resistant to corrosion. There are no substantial deposits of cadmium ores.

Early craftsmen found tin too soft to work with, but when it was alloyed with copper, bronze was created. Tin was one of the first materials ever researched for its superconductor properties. The crust contains around two parts per million of tin.

Pure nickel is rarely found on Earth. About six percent of the world's nickel is used to nickel-plate objects to protect them from corrosion. Nickel is a skin allergen for some people, so iron has replaced it in coins. Nickel is especially useful in dating the age of meteorites.

Lead has a long history in alchemy, since many alchemists thought that lead could be turned into gold. Lead acts as a neurotoxin, damaging the central nervous system. Combining lead and copper or antimony makes lead both harder and more resistant to acid.

Due to cellular transport properties, only trace amounts of chromium enter the cells of living organisms. Industrially, about four and a half million tons of chromium are mined annually. 85% of chromium produced goes towards creating metal alloys.

Arsenic has been in use since ancient times, specifically by Greek, Egyptian, and Chinese civilizations. The first known person to isolate arsenic as an element was Albertus Magnus in 1250. Arsenic is still produced as a byproduct of copper purification.

The Greeks and Romans used mercury in medical ointments and beauty products because they didn't know mercury has toxic properties. Mercury is extremely rare, found in the Earth's crust at a concentration of only 0.08 parts per million.

An estimated 171,000 tons of gold have been mined by humans. Gold is also used in medicine, gourmet foods, and the commercial chemistry industry. About half of all gold ever produced has come from mines in South Africa. Gold is often alloyed with other elements.

The universe's uranium formed 6.6 billion years ago in supernovae, according to the World Nuclear Association. It is all over the planet and makes up about 2 to 4 parts per million of most rocks. Pure uranium is a silvery metal that quickly oxidizes in air.

It took until 1855 to isolate lithium. Augustus Matthiessen and Robert Bunsen ran a current through lithium chloride in order to separate the element. It is the lightest known metal.

When mixed with water, sodium reacts spectacularly. The combination produces sodium hydroxide, hydrogen gas, and heat. Sodium is an alkali metal, found on the left side of the Periodic Table with other elements: lithium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium.

Pure boron is extremely difficult to produce, even in laboratory conditions, because of its propensity to join with carbon. Boron is fairly rare in the solar system and makes up only 0.001% of the Earth's crust, but its naturally occurring compounds are quite common.

Fluorine is the thirteenth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. Fluorine is rare in the universe, at only 400 parts per billion. Fluorite mining produces approximately 4.5 million tons of the mineral per year, which is used for commercial fluorine.

Pure calcium is actually a metal and reacts very strongly, sometimes violently, with water and acids. The best sources of calcium in the diet are milk, yogurt, and cheese. Nearly 72% of the dietary calcium in the US comes from dairy foods.

Silicon makes up slightly more than 27% of the Earth's crust. Most of the silicon on Earth is found in the form of silicon oxides, like sand and quartz. Silicon is found in abundance in many minerals. It is vital for life in both plants and animals.

Beryllium is a hard metal, but it is brittle at room temperature. Beryllium has a long history, having been known to the ancient Egyptians in beryl and in emeralds. In 1797, Nicholas Louis Vauquelin recognized the element in emeralds.

Potassium was the first elemental metal to be found through electrolysis. Potassium is the second least dense metal after lithium. Potassium usually burns in a reaction with water. Potassium is not available in nature as a pure element. It was first isolated by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807.

Antimony was used in ancient Egypt as a form of eyeliner (kohl). The first published report on how to isolate antimony was by Vannoccio Biringuccio in 1540. Antimony is ranked first on the British Geological Survey's Risk List, because of its small supply.

George Brandt is credited with isolating cobalt in 1735. The cobalt pigment is most widely known for use in jewelry, glass, and paint. The name cobalt comes from the German word kobold, meaning "goblin ore."

Barium's name comes from the Greek word meaning "heavy." While barium does not build up in the body and is not a carcinogen, breathing its dust can damage the lungs. Some compounds of barium are actually toxic and used as industrial poisons.

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