sábado, 12 de octubre de 2013

La influencia de la mitología en la ciencia (14ª Parte): Thor

Chemistry must be respected


En la mitología nórdica Thor es el dios del trueno. Este poderoso dios, que blandía siempre un martillo, también era considerado como protector de la humanidad y garante de la fertilidad. Hijo de Odín y Fjörgyn, Thor vivía en el Asgard con su mujer Sif y sus hijos como la valquiria Þrúðr o Móði y Magni (que significan "enfadado" y "fuerte" respectivamente). 

Te bautizo con el nombre de "Thorium"..., oh, wait!
De número atómico 90 y símbolo Th, el torio es un elemento químico radiactivo de la serie de los actínidos.

Más guapo que Chris Hemsworth

En 1828 el sacerdote y aficionado a los minerales de origen noruego Morten Thrane Esmark descubrió en la isla noruega de Løvøya un mineral negro que no pudo identificar. Se lo envió a su padre, Jens Esmark, profesor de mineralogía en Oslo, y este le remitió una muestra al químico sueco Jöns Jakob Berzelius, quien lo identificó como nuevo elemento en 1829 y le dio el nombre inspirado en Thor, el dios del trueno. El mineral era un ortosilicato de torio que ahora conocemos como torita.

Pero Berzelius no eligió el nombre de este elemento porque alguna de sus propiedades estuviera relacionada con el dios mitológico como hemos visto en otras ocasiones. En realidad, Berzelius creyó descubrir en 1815 un nuevo elemento en un mineral que luego resultó ser un fosfato de itrio, un elemento, el itrio, que ya fue descubierto en 1794 por Johan Gadolin. Años después pudo darle el homenaje a Thor.

La radioactividad del torio fue propuesta en 1898 por Gerhard Schmidt poco antes de morir y confirmada por Marie Curie a finales de ese mismo año. 

Del Asgard al Congo
Existe una extraña musaraña que dispone de vértebras con enclavamiento cuyo nombre se inspiró en Thor.

La musaraña de Thor (Scutisorex thori) fue descrita por primera vez por el biólogo William T. Stanley en julio de 2013 y tiene un destacado interés científico para avanzar en el conocimiento y desarrollo de la teoría del equilibrio puntuado, según el propio Stanley.


Como coja un martillo os vais a enterar
  ____________

Los artículos de esta serie La influencia de la mitología en la ciencia están todos disponibles desde este enlace. Y si te ha gustado este post o la serie o lo que sea, puedes votar a este blog en los Premios Bitácoras en la categoría de Ciencia. En este momento vamos en cuarto lugar y no estaría mal subir un poco. Lo puedes hacer pulsando la imagen de arriba a la derecha que dice "Vota ahora" o desde aquí, buscando la categoría de Mejor blog de ciencia y añadiendo el nombre del blog www.esepuntoazulpalido.com. Puedes validarte con FB Twitter o registrarte sin compromiso en Bitácoras. Gracias de antemano :-)

NOTA: Esta entrada participa en la XXVIII Edición del Carnaval de Química, la del níquel, que se celebra en el blog Flagellum. Impulsando la concepción de la ciencia.

75 comentarios:

  1. Me puedo imaginar al hombre este en la isla esa, pensando "bua, un mineral nuevo, ¡lovoya petar!".

    Perdón, perdón... me estaba aguantando hacer chistecitos con el torio (que da para mucho) y al final no he podido evitarlo.

    Ya lo he dicho muchas veces, y me reitero: me encanta esta serie, sólo por ella ya te votaría en los Bitácoras pero voy a hacer como todos los años y esperar a que ya casi estén cerradas las votaciones, a ver si entre medias aparece otro candidato más mejor... ;P

    Un saludete.

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    Respuestas
    1. Gracias, doc. Creía que nadie leía ya mi blog. No sé que pasa pero últimamente conforme crecen las visitas los comentarios disminuyen... No quiero pensar en 'guruísmos' :-P

      ¿Otro candidato mejor que yo? Los hay a decenas, pero ninguno sabe bailar claqué. XD

      Saludetes

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    2. Pues es una lástima, yo personalmente prefiero tener más comentarios y menos visitas. Pero este mundo internetil va demasiado rápido y cada vez está más concurrido, no da tiempo a leer todo y cuando da, no mucho para comentar... debe ser eso.

      Si te veo bailar claqué, no es que te vote; es que ya me hago de tu club de fans, hombre :D

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  2. Thor es un personaje muy importante en la mitología griega. Me parece una entrada muy interesante

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