Posts Tagged ‘speculative chemist’

Perbromate. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Chemists love a mystery as much as anyone. And gaps in patterns can be mysterious. Mendeleev’s period table had famous gaps which led to new discovery. And so from the 1890s onwards, chemists searched for the perbromate anion, BrO4-. It represented a gap between perchlorate and periodate, both of which had long been known. As the failure to turn up perbromate persisted, the riddle deepened. Finally, in 1968, the key was found, but talk about sledgehammer to crack a nut! It was done by alchemical-like radioactive transmutation of selenium into bromine:

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