Science: Jobs for Elements

Modern physics is beginning to find jobs for unemployed elements; even the rarest and most intractable of them may soon be put to useful work. In the current Nucleonics, British Physicist R. West tells how he has found a job for thulium, an element so rare that its oxide costs $9,000 an ounce. Physicist West formed thulium into tiny pellets which he made radioactive by cooking in a nuclear reactor. Then he was able to take delicate pictures with thulium's gentle X rays.

Two other unemployed elements, europium and xenon, may also be used in the same way for special X-ray photography....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!