Manganese to be called Melvyn
In Our Time and the joy of being talked up to
In praise of… Melvyn Braggsource: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soubor:Potassium-permanganate-solution.png
Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg of Wigton, presented the 500th edition of In Our Time on BBC Radio 4 this week. The website is one of the best in the BBC and over the next few weeks and months, much more archive material is going to be put on. The committee considered that the name Melvyn should be awarded to a man of distinction, a real big hitter. Manganese is a very useful element and potassium paermanganate has a lovely colour. Dr A.V. O'Gadro, the vice chair of CREDO*, has said that Melvyn reminds him of Deep Purple (the rock group) and that Potassium Permanganate embodies the colour purple (not the Whoopi variety), i.e. an element on its own.
Just to show off with our new super and sub script system, the formula for potassium permanaganate is KMNO4. The compound itself is almost jet black in the crystalline form, but forms a deep purple solution in water. Interestingly, you can get the purple to turn green with a lot of pH control. The oxide, manganese dioxide, is often used in catalysis. This is nothing to do with cats, and there are two types of catalysis: homogeneous and heterogeneous.Some 10 years ago, Melvyn was considered too Labour-leaning for the BBC flagship programme Start the Week, so he was moved to the Thursday slot, leaving Andrew Marr to do the book plug programme on a Monday. We have a few links to the the In Our Time website, and you can see that Obreption has waxed lyrical on the Telegraph blog concerning Melvyn's programme (see link at the top). Dr Tony has said that he has also blogged in favour of Melvyn, though under an assumed name to avoid hostility with the the anti-Reithian, right-wing, little Englanders of a prominent broadsheet, and well-kknown media mogul allegedly riddled with make-believe of which no more anon.
Therefore, while the auction for V has been very keen, the CREDO committee has no greater pleasure than to award the symbol Mn to Melvyn.
In Our Time:
In Our Time archive:
*The CREDO stands for Commission for the Realisation of Enlightenment Despite Obscurants. There is a nasty outfit named DEECREDO which does the opposite.