Chemical Elements History and Information Helium
About the chemical element Helium, its symbol, atomic number and weight, who discovered it and when.
The Atomic Elements and Their Uses
(Element) (Symbol) (Atomic number) (Atomic weight)
Helium He 2 4.00260
Discovered spectroscopically in the sun by Sir Joseph Lockyer of England in 1868. Independent spectroscopic discovery in the sun by Pierre Janssen of France in 1868. Isolated on earth by Sir William Ramsay of England in 1895. Helium is tasteless, odorless, colorless, normally nontoxic, and the second most abundant element in existence. It launches rockets, cools nuclear reactors, lifts weather balloons, and treats asthmatics. An old trick is to breathe from a helium-filled balloon. When you talk with that breath, your voice is very high-pitched, like Donald Duck's. Helium is not very dense, so it's easier for the larynx to vibrate surrounded by helium than by air.
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