Search This Blog

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Atomic Symbol B

The Atomic Symbol B

The holidays they came at last
When not a child was seen in class
And I was free to play the days away
Outdoors I went my net with me
Intent I was to catch a Bee
Until my mother stopped me just to say,

"Did I hear correctly son?
The holidays are made for fun,
But if you must insist my dear then I've
Got an hour to help you see
The element marked by a "B"
Is the one that's numbered with a five."

Of course I was then quite annoyed
To hear about this metalloid
Chemical element, not today!
But my mum seemed quite seduced
By how the substance was produced
By the spallation of a cosmic ray...

Or something like that anyway
"Mum please step out of my way!"
I tried to tell her, "I need not know this!"
But all hope was lost you see,
She was intent to lecture me,
In a state of scientific bliss!

She said to me that "Boron isn't
An abundant element
This stellar nucleosynthesised substance
There's not a lot of it around
But it can be found under ground
In places such as turkey for instance"

My brain began to age and rust
When she mentioned the earths crust
And it's compounds, "borate minerals"
My eyes rolled back into my head
I tried pretending to be dead
But she thought instead I was enthralled!

She spoke much of evaporites,
Borax and indeed kernite,
Good grief I thought I wish I was at school!
At least if I was in my class
I would not learn that fibreglass
Contained boron, man this wasn't cool!

Though smart my mum must have been thick
To think me keen on ceramics
And polymers in which the stuff is used
You might think I'm lucky that
My mother filled my brain with facts
But at the time I felt more than abused!

Tell me how I could profit
By knowing borosilicate
Glass was wanted for its greater strength?
Or for its shock resistance?
I must say with some insistence
It benefits me not at any length!

And still my mum she did resound
About the use of its compounds
And still I felt not one bit any wiser!
I was only six you see
So what good did it do for me
To know they could be used in fertilisers?

The point I'm trying to stress is this
I don't care about the synthesis
Of any organic fine chemicals
Of which it is apparently
A dopant, which means naught to me
In semiconductors too if not all!

I was sure at this point that
If I was to then look at
Myself in a mirror there I would find
My six year old face filled with lines
And my hair gray from the time
My mother spent to educate my mind!

"Boron is composed of two
Staple isotopes, do you
Know that one of which can then be used
As a neutron capturing
Agent..." That's the sort of thing
She said as if it was exciting news!

And then of all the things that she
Could do to me to torture me
She started on biology and said,
"Borates have a very low
Toxicity in mammals though
In anthropods they can help make them dead."

"You see," she said, "borates can be
Added to the recipe
Of what we like to call insecticides!
And boric acid's known to all
To be anti microbial..."
I then began to ponder matricide!

And saw unfold inside my head,
Based upon what my mum said,
A boron-vacuum cleaning like device
Which could suck compounds from
The salad that my mum snacked on
Surely then it wouldn't taste that nice?

For the strength it gave the walls
Of the cells in plants would fall
Or maybe inhibit the calcium
That both my mum and plants do eat?
Wouldn't that be really neat
To mess so with her metabolism!

But I realised that I
Was wrong to wish my mum would die
Over the small issue of this boron
So by the time that she was done
Educating me my mum
Left me feeling no less a moron...

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Meaning of Abate