In Poems

Zoe Smallwood

The element of Thallium
Is found in group 13,
Named after “thallos”, Greek for “green twig”,
From its spectral line in the green.

Its discoverer is contentious…
Crookes versus Lamy- who won?
Lamy’s premier took place one year after
The work of Crookes in 1861.

Thallium is toxic,
It displaces K+ in a cell,
“The poisoner’s poison”, as it was nicknamed
Possesses no taste and no smell.

Nowadays its uses are few
(Banned from rat poison, for a start)
Although a particular isotope is still used today
To medically image the heart.


About the Author

I’m Zoe and for the last five years I studied for my PhD in synthetic inorganic chemistry at the University of Sheffield, specialising in main group coordination chemistry. I now work as a Specialist Junior Demonstrator in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Alongside inorganic chemistry, I also have interests in spectroscopy and crystallography, and can often be found figuring out how an instrument works or looking at nice crystal structures! Outside of chemistry, I enjoy sport, photography and learning a language.