The name gold comes from the Anglo Saxon word gold, but its chemical symbol Au comes from the Latin word aurum, meaning ‘glow of sunrise.’
Gold is the most malleable and ductile metal which is why it is beloved of jewellers. Its high value is a function of both its beauty and rarity.
It is very unreactive, and so chemically aloof that it bonds with only one element – tellurium.
The term ‘acid test’ is the use of nitric acid to determine whether a metallic object is gold – gold won’t dissolve, but other metals such as silver will.
Nanogold will turn fibres like wool a lustrous purple colour, says Professor Allan Blackman from AUT.
The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.
Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.
Nights with Bryan Crump is also celebrating the chemical elements during their Friday night Sonic Tonic and Element of the Week.
Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.