Monday, 11 April 2011

God made Templetonium from Tellurium

This  presentation is brought to you by the inter-faith delegation to the Council of Atheists

Lord Rees was given a cash award (atheists understand monetisation theory very well) and no sooner had the famous economist Evan Davis, of Radio 4, interviewed Lewis Wolpert and Peter Atkins (just before the Chief Rabbi), then the blogosphere started humming .  Letters were being written, tweets sent and eventually a concordat was agreed in the Guardian: see 

As Lord Obreption recently told a leading daily: "I don't think a million pounds is enough. I would want a lot more to name the element Tellurium (Te), Templetonium, in order to give Templeton any credence. This approval requires many committees, peer review and much tertiary research, and possibly even divine inspiration. Let the man enjoy his money. I'd rather rename another element.

Incidentally, many years ago a colleague of mine ended up in a hospital isolation unit after a Tellurium experiment went wrong. I have tales of a Selenium experiment going very wrong - it raised a stink, but that's for another day."

In the event - as with all Lord Obreption's predictions - the Large Hydrangea Collider crashed when someone who was cutting peat on Benbecula cut through the power cable. This resulted in the discovery of 30 pieces of royal wedding souvenir crowns which had been hidden by Mary Queen of Scots after she had been involved in the Kirk O'Fields booby trap which killed her second husband (check citation re. Mary Queen of Scots biographies).  These coins were submitted for research and it was discovered that a new element had been created and that the orginal Tellurium pieces had infact been transformed by a miracle to Templetonium with the assistance of 1 million pounds from a funding body which normally doles out cash to UK political, economic and humanities institutions.  There was a lot of hand wringing, demands of proof, primary sourcing and in this special week of WHHW, claims and counter claims were made.  The Concordat which we previously published spontaneously combusted and it has been agreed by newspapers that newsprint shall from henceforth be treated with flame retardants.  This will come as good news to those who had been reading Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis which was barbecued and metamorphosed into a Kofta Kebab.  This is not a reference to Norman Lamb, who has been advising Mr Clegg and who has threatened to resign over the NHS reforms.

Some atheists thought that Lord Rees had sold out.  Some theologians thought that as an atheist Lord Rees should not have accepted the prize.  Lord Obreption's views were that he had already got the prize, but had palmed off any questions on his confession with a virtual shrug. 

The obreption competition: can any one recognise this?  Normal competition rule apply.

For further details on this, check out the Nick Cohen piece in the Guardian:

For an interview with Lord Rees, check out Articles of Faith by Ruth Gledhill at:

For information about what chemists actually do, check out Nature Chemistry:;jsessionid=85FC9ED2A722EB6F87E5D6DE9E987A3D.c3

(They quite liked my ideas on Strontium and Tungsten, but were not sure about my comments re. an organo-arsenic derivative.  We are still speaking, unlike one political columnist who couldn't take a joke - and you know who you are!)

We are going to pursue a tale of Dr AV O'Gadro as told by him after another of his fabulous films on the chemical elements.  Tony recalls that when chemists actually created novel molecules, it was very important to have them 'characterised' by what were known as 'sporting' and 'non-sporting' methods.  In the old days, sporting methods meant that you had to spend hours with punch cards and tape to make any sense of any observation that had been made.  Non-sporting methods gave you the answer in an instant and allowed time for a game of squash, a round of golf, and a round of home brew.

The story which Tony recounts, concerns Tellurium (Te) and a few molecules.  It so happened that 0.2 mmoles got out.  All the research staff were rushed into an isolation ward, put into strait jackets and observed for a few days.  They were finally released and returned into the community.  Tony thinks they are still around.  If you do a search for organotellurium compounds in a search engine, it might tell you why these things don't get out of the lab.

Regarding our survey of the periodic table, we have decided to award the letter V to Vedanta.  It has proved on inspirational grounds to be a bit more worthwhile than some of the other candidates, though it was close run at the very end.

(By the way, Tony made a fortune at the Grand National at the weekend, but was saddened at the outcome of the Masters in Augusta.  Better luck next time, Rory McIlroy.)  Tony also has some golfing stories with great theological implications and we are pleased to announce that another friend of the blog has some perspective on clerics in belles lettres and the novel - of which more anon.


Dr A.V.O'Gadro would like us to draw attention to the campaign to save The Cardinal, a well-known hostelry in Westminster.  We would like to join the Archbishop of Westminster in trying to prevent the rechristening of this pub as something to do with the House of Windsor.  This would indeed be an obreption, or possibly subreption, according to the on-line dictionaries.  Tony also says that the strange drawing above reminds him of a trekking expedition in the Himalyas, when he made a hash of an experiment in his younger days.  He can't remember what it was, but it was definitely scientific - and not some form of blarney or Celtic divination.


  1. I think I may have interviewed you for the Guardian or it might have been the Huffington Post or the Scotsman, but aren't you that professor thingy who's going on about nuitrition and the benefits of Selenium. We use it in all our cosmetic products and we shine out like the beacon you are among the great unwashed.

  2. Knowing your predilection for long German words, here's a new take on phony PhDs. Can you cope with this? Plagiatsvorwürfe

    Link to ARD here:

  3. I think your chart shows a cross section of a holy mountain in the Himalyas. It belongs to the gods - and you are insulting the gods.

  4. God

    This is the head of the Vatican civil service. We do not find this amusing and we are going to seek your extradition. What is this nonsense about alien torts? His Holiness would like to ask you if this alien tort comes from the Hotel Sacher in Vienna or is this some fruit cake invention? Be careful or we will take out a full page ad in The Daily Obreption. We cannot find this in the advertising schedule. Please advise Father Federico.

  5. Anon:
    It appears that Father Lombardi has washed his hands off the former bishop of Brugge, a Mr Roger Vangheluwe. If, for example, this former bishop had confirmed someone wanting to join the Belgian Royal family, would this make the confirmation null and void under canon or state laws?

  6. Obreption:

    Thank you all for your comments. We've had many and varied discussions on science and religion. Our only comment is that people should get on well with each other. Many people can and do compartmentalise their brains. We have brains for a purpose - to think, to discover. We also have the ability to switch off and dream. That's why we sleep.