Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Watch Out Kent

Kryptonite is no longer the stuff of myth. Well, kinda.

A new mineral matching its 'unique chemistry' - as described in the last Supes flick - has been heaved out of the ground in Serbia.

Unfortunately, the real stuff is white and totally harmless to reporters (other wise I'd be sprinkling it around our offices and recording my observations in the name of science). There's more than one type of kryptonite though, as all good geeks know. Though the newly found element doesn't seem to be particularly deadly to indigenous plant-life or contain any noticeably traces of alien cosmic gasses.

Dr Chris Stanley (mineralogist at The Natural History Museum) said: "I'm afraid it's not green and it doesn't glow either - although it will react to ultraviolet light by fluorescing a pinkish-orange..."

"Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula - sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide - and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns."

"The new mineral does not contain fluorine (which it does in the film) and is white rather than green but, in all other respects, the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite."

Dr Yvon Le Page (of the Canadian National Research Council) said: "'Knowing a material's crystal structure means scientists can calculate other physical properties of the material, such as its elasticity or thermochemical properties, and being able to analyse all the properties of a mineral, both chemical and physical, brings us closer to confirming that it is indeed unique. Finding out that the chemical composition of a material was an exact match to an invented formula for the fictitious kryptonite was the 'coincidence of a lifetime'."

Imagine that on ya CV. "Nov '06: Discovered kryptonite". Sweet.

Alas the new compound can't actually be named kryptonite (under international nomenclature rules) as it has jack all to do with krypton (a colourless, odourless, fairly expensive gas in the existing Periodic Table), which is a gosh darn shame. Unfortunately, solid krypton is a kinda white crystalline stuff with a face-centered cubic structure that's common to all the "rare gases". It looks like they will be calling it Jadarite instead.

One can only assume that this mine is the crash site of a long abandoned alien vessel, and I look forward in the coming days to an announcement regarding Vibranium.

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