Today, I learned that:
There is something new in the world of chemistry, and although I am not very fond of chemistry, this is really thrilling. IUPAC (The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), announced that four new elements of the periodic table (elements 113, 115, 117, and 118) have been discovered and approved. These elements complete the 7th row of the periodic table of the elements, and the discoverers from Japan, Russia, and the USA will now be invited to suggest permanent names and symbols.
Also, in the same podcast, The Naked Scientists, where these new elements were discussed, they talked about how the physicists Max von Laue and James Franck, who had won the Nobel Prize in 1914 and 1925, respectively, were able to save their golden medals from falling into Nazi hands during World War II. Their colleague George de Hevesy hid their medals in a bottle in a lab at the Niels Bohr Institute and dissolved them in aqua regia, a concentrated nitrogen hydrochloric acid (‘kungsvatten’ in Swedish). After the war, the gold solution was still there, and then it was transformed back into solid gold and recast to medals by the Nobel authorities in Stockholm. Finally, the scientists received their Nobel medals back.
… That’s what I learned in school!
3: Aqua regia