Introduction

Have you ever wondered about the elements, the periodic table? Who put it like that? In this word power episode, we will talk about Charting the Elements, and we will learn 10 new words in context.


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Charting the Elements

Throughout history, people have wondered about the composition of the earth and of the air around them. Early explanations tended to be more philosophical than scientific. Aristotle held that everything was made of just four substances—earth, air, fire, and water. This belief persisted for more than two thousand years and is mentioned in numerous essays, poems, and other writings. However, when this theory was examined scientifically, it was shown to be unfounded.

In the fourth and fifth centuries, a peculiar combination of myth, magic, and science began to gain prominence. Developed by the Chinese and Egyptians, alchemy soon became popular in various parts of the world, although some Christians rejected it as the work of infidels. Many of the alchemists’ efforts were devoted to a futile search for a method of turning common metals into gold. Although such efforts seem rather far removed from science as we know it today, some scientific knowledge was eventually extrapolated from alchemy.

It was not until the nineteenth century that the ascendancy of modern chemistry began. One of the first to see patterns in the reactions of elements was a German chemist named Dobereiner. He noted that certain elements with similar properties occurred in groups of threes, which he called triads. Dobereiner’s rudimentary observations set off a search for more relationships, and in 1866 an English chemist named Newlands proposed his law of octaves, which superseded Dobereiner’s triads. Newlands noticed that if elements were arranged in order of weight, certain characteristics reappeared with every eighth element. With this discovery, Newlands could now predict the properties of a hypothetical element even before it was discovered.

Three years later a Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, refined Newlands’s observations. Mendeleev also had observed that certain properties seemed to recur on a regular basis. His special contribution, however, was his unique way of demonstrating this cycle. Without resorting to scientific lingo or confusing mathematics, he devised a chart of the elements, arranged in order of weight, that could be understood by almost anyone. Moreover, he took the unusual step of leaving certain parts of the chart blank. An empty place indicated that an element of a certain weight and property existed theoretically, but to date such an element had not been found. Chemistry then became not only the study of existing matter, but a means of predicting future discoveries. Today, in almost any scientific laboratory in the world, the periodic table of the elements is blazoned on the wall—an enduring tribute to the work of Dmitri Mendeleev.

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[00:00:00] Danny: Have you ever wondered about the elements, the periodic table, Who put it like that? How did it come to be this thing that we find in every single classroom or lab around the world just blazoned on the wall everywhere. Today we’re gonna talk about charting the elements in a new word power episode. This is your host, Danny, and this is English Plus Podcast.

[00:00:28] Welcome to a New Word Power episode, where we are going to talk about charting the elements. This interesting thing that you might not know about, you know about the elements, of course, you know about the periodic table, but maybe you don’t know how it came to be. And this is what we’re gonna talk about today.

[00:00:45] And since it is a word power episode, it’s not going to be only that; we’re going to talk about 10 words in context, and let me tell you about these 10 words we’re going to discuss in today’s episode. We’re going to talk about the word unfounded, alchemy, infidel, futile, extrapolate ascendancy, rudimentary, supersede, lingo, and blazoned.

[00:01:13] Are you interested? Of course you are. We’re gonna talk about a very interesting topic, and we’re going to learn very interesting 10 new words in context that you can get to practice, by the way, if you take the link I will leave in the description of the episode. The link will take you to a custom post I created on my website, englishpluspodcast.com.

[00:01:34] In the post, you will find many useful things. The first thing that I added for the very first time today is the ability to listen and see the words in action. So if you are kind of struggling to understand every single word I say in the episodes, I got you covered. There’s a solution, and I’m adding this solution to all the episodes starting from today’s episode.

[00:01:55] So check the link. It’s going to be very interesting, I promise you. And that’s not everything, of course, if you want to practice and you need to practice because it’s the only way you can get these words as part of your permanent active vocabulary bank. You can do that by practicing, and I got plenty of options for you to practice on the website.

[00:02:15] There are different interactive activities you can use on the website, whether you are on your PC, mobile phone, tablet, it doesn’t matter. You can work right from there. And for those of you who prefer pen and paper, there’s also a PDF practice worksheet that you can download, print out, and practice to your heart’s content.

[00:02:33] And of course, in the PDF practice worksheet, there’s something special that we don’t only practice the words we’re going to learn today, but we also have the words from the previous four word power episodes. For those of you who’ve been following the Word Power series for a while. This is very useful to review the words you learned in earlier episodes.

[00:02:54] With that being said, let’s not waste any more time and let’s dive right into our story for today, and that is charting the elements that’s coming next. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.

[00:03:09] Throughout history, people have wondered about the composition of the earth and the air around it. Early explanations tended to be more philosophical than scientific. Aristotle held that everything was made of just four substances— earth, air, fire, and water. This belief persisted for more than 2000 years and is mentioned in numerous essays, poems, and other writings.

[00:03:40] However, when this theory was examined scientifically, it was shown to be unfounded. In the fourth and fifth centuries, a peculiar combination of myth, magic, and science began to gain prominence developed by the Chinese and Egyptians, alchemy soon became popular in various parts of the world, although some Christians rejected it as the work of infidels.

[00:04:07] Many of the alchemists’ efforts were devoted to a futile search for a method of turning common metals into gold. Although such efforts seem rather far removed from science as we know it today, some scientific knowledge was eventually extrapolated from alchemy. It was not until the 19th century that the ascendancy of modern chemistry began.

[00:04:32] One of the first to see patterns in the reactions of elements was a German chemist named Dobereiner. He noted that certain elements with similar properties occurred in groups of threes, which he called triad. Dobereiner’s rudimentary observations set off a search for more relationships. And in 1866, an English chemist named Newlands proposed his law of octaves, which superseded Dobereiner’s triads.

[00:05:02] Newlands noticed that if elements were arranged in order of weight, certain characteristics reappeared with every eighth element. With this discovery, Newland could now predict the properties of a hypothetical element even before it was discovered. Three years later, a Russian scientist, Dimitri Mendeleev refined Newlands’ observations. Mendeleev

[00:05:26] also had observed that certain properties seemed to recur on a regular basis. His special contribution, however, was his unique way of demonstrating this cycle. Without resorting to scientific lingo or confusing mathematics, he devised a chart of the elements, arranged in order of weight that could be understood by almost anyone.

[00:05:50] Moreover, he took the unusual step of leaving certain parts of the chart blank. An empty place indicated that an element of a certain weight and property existed theoretically, but to date such an element had not been found. Chemistry then became not only the study of existing matter, but a means of predicting future discoveries.

[00:06:13] Today in almost any scientific laboratory in the world, the periodic table of the element is blazoned on the wall —an enduring tribute to the work of Dimitri Mendeleev. So that was our story for today, and I hope you learned something you didn’t know about before, especially about the charting of the elements.

[00:06:33] Of course, you know what they are. Maybe you are not interested in chemistry. Maybe you don’t know anything about chemistry, but that definitely doesn’t mean that you haven’t heard or seen the periodic table of the elements before. That was about our story. Now let’s dive in and talk about the words.

[00:06:49] Remember, we’re gonna talk about 10 words in context today. Let me remind you again, we’re gonna talk about unfounded, alchemy, infidel, futile, extrapolate, ascendancy, rudimentary, supersede, lingo and blazoned. That’s coming next. Don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.

[00:07:15] So let’s start with our very first word for today, and this word is unfounded, U N F O U N D E D, unfounded. Let’s first remember how we used that word in context. We said this belief persisted for more than 2000 years, and we’re talking about the belief that everything consisted of four elements. But anyway, this belief persisted for more than 2000 years and is mentioned in numerous essays, poems, and other writings.

[00:07:48] However, when this theory was examined scientifically, it was shown to be unfounded. All right, this is the context. First, I would like you to discover the meaning of this word from the context with the help of the context. So an unfounded theory is one that is what not based on fact, highly regarded, pleasing to the touch, or related to the solar system.

[00:08:15] Which one is it? Think about it, and I’ll be right back with the answer.

[00:08:24] Now, for those of you who thought not based on fact is the right answer, you’re absolutely right. If you describe a rumor, belief, or feeling as unfounded, you mean that it is wrong and is not based on facts or evidence. So you’re talking about something groundless, something false, unjustified, unproven. That doesn’t mean that this thing is wrong.

[00:08:46] I mean like definitely wrong. We have no proof. Maybe it is right, but we don’t have proof. This theory is not based on facts, on science, on evidence. Maybe in the future it will be so you can say about something, it is unfounded today, but maybe in the future it will be proven. But when you call something unfounded, you mean that it is not based on fact science or evidence.

[00:09:11] So that was our first word. Now let’s move on to talk about the second word alchemy. And this is a word that you might see a lot in literature because it is used a lot in literature. And here, of course, if you read Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist, you’ll know exactly what this word means. And of course there are a lot of other stories that talk about alchemy, or alchemy is just part of it.

[00:09:32] I remember it was also present in Harry Potter, so it is related to magic and stuff. Definitely not science. But first, let me tell you how we spell this word, how we used it in context, and then I will ask you what it means, although it might be very simple. But anyway, the word is spelled A L C H E M Y, alchemy.

[00:09:52] Now, how do we use that word in context? We said in the fourth and fifth centuries, a peculiar combination of myth, magic, and science began to gain prominence. Developed by the Chinese and Egyptians alchemy soon became popular in various parts of the world, although some Christians rejected it as the work of infidels.

[00:10:14] Now, my question is, what does alchemy mean? Does it mean any foreign land? Does it mean medieval chemical philosophy? Does it mean popular literature? Or does it mean modern science? Which one is the answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:10:37] Now I know this one is easy, and anyway, for those of you who thought Medieval chemical philosophy is the right answer, you are absolutely right. Alchemy was a form of chemistry studied in the Middle Ages, which was concerned with trying to discover ways to change ordinary metals into gold. And in some other stories, alchemy was also involved in the elixir of life, this kind of elixir that you drink and live forever, theoretically.

[00:11:02] And of course, that was the work of alchemy magic and stuff. And most of the time it was just fiction. Anyway, that was our word, alchemy. The next word is infidel. And we actually used it in the very same context. But first, let me tell you how this word is spelled. It’s I N F I D E L infidel. Now, we said in the fourth and fifth centuries, a peculiar combination of myth magic and science began to gain prominence developed by the Chinese and Egyptians.

[00:11:31] Alchemy soon became popular in various parts of the world. Although some Christians rejected it as the work of infidels, what does that mean? This is the context. Now think about it in this context. Remember back in the day, the Christians back then, how they used to reject things and when they rejected things, they would persecute these people.

[00:11:54] We’re talking about the Middle Ages here, right? So an infidel is what is it a person without religious beliefs? Is it an expert? Is it a chemical compound? Or is it a colorful demonstration? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:12:16] Now, of course, for those of you who thought person without religious beliefs is the right answer, you are absolutely right. If one person refers to another as an infidel, The first person is hostile towards the second person because that person has a different religion, or most probably in the view of the first person has no religion or belief at all.

[00:12:39] Now, here is just like saying unbeliever or atheist or heretic, and here I want to make a couple of things clear. First of all, in my opinion, no one has the right to call anyone infidel just because he has a different belief system. But unfortunately that was the case in the Middle Ages and even more unfortunately that this is still the case today.

[00:13:01] Some people call other people infidels just because they believe in different things. Well, the beauty about us as humans, that we are different. We think differently. We love different things. We believe in different. That’s the beautiful mosaic of the human nature that we should not only accept, but celebrate.

[00:13:21] But anyway, that’s my opinion. Now, linguistically, let’s come to the word itself. I will have to warn you that this word is offensive. Never, ever use it, especially to call someone infidel. That’s very, very offensive. But of course it’s in the context and I thought that you should know about the meaning of this word.

[00:13:40] So that’s why I included it in today’s episode. So that was about infidel. Now let’s move on to the next word, futile. F U T I L E. Futile. How do we use that in context? Let’s see. We said many of the alchemists’ efforts were devoted to a futile search for a method of turning common metals into gold. So that was the context. Here

[00:14:04] we’re talking about their search, but we also described the search as a futile search. So what do you think the word futile means? Do you think it means successful, humorous, expensive or ineffective. Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:14:29] Now, for those of you who thought ineffective is the best answer, you are absolutely right. If you say that something is futile, you mean that there’s no point in doing it usually because it has no chance of succeeding. It’s ineffective, it’s useless, it’s pointless. It’s in vain. That’s the meaning of futile. So a futile search, that means it is definitely not going to succeed.

[00:14:52] A futile effort. That means all this effort is for nothing because you’re not getting anywhere with it. It’s futile. All right? This is a new word added to your active vocabulary bank. And remember, you can do that by practicing the words and all the practice you need is right on the website, englishpluspodcast.com.

[00:15:11] Just take the link you can find in the description of the episode. Go there and do yourself a favor. Do your vocabulary bank, active vocabulary bank a big favor by adding these words. And there’s only one way to do that, and that is by practicing the words. So that was futile. Let’s move on and talk about the next word, extrapolate.

[00:15:30] E X T R A P O L A T E. Extrapolate. How do we use that in context? Well, we just said many of the alchemists’ efforts were devoted to a futile search for a method of turning common metals into gold. Although such efforts seem rather far removed from science as we know it today, some scientific knowledge was eventually extrapolated from alchemy.

[00:15:57] So alchemy was not totally useless because some scientific knowledge was eventually extrapolated from alchemy. What does that mean? In this context, do you think extrapolated means hidden, reasoned by extending known information, evaporated or discarded? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:16:26] Now for those of you who thought reasoned by extending known information, you’re absolutely right. If you extrapolate from known facts, you use these facts as a basis for general statements about a situation or about what is likely to happen in the future. And we do that in science a lot. We never start from scratch.

[00:16:47] We always start from a point from somewhere. And Alchemy was actually a good starting point because even it was all about turning metals into gold, finding the elixir of life. There was some science, there was some actual science and some scientific processes going on that modern chemistry found uses for even in modern science.

[00:17:09] So some scientific knowledge was eventually extrapolated from Alchemy. That was our word, and it’s a very interesting word. Of course, it’s formal and it is used more in scientific context, but that’s the point of word power. We don’t only talk about one thing, we talk about different topics, because that’s what you have to do, not just read one thing and know everything about this topic.

[00:17:32] You will have to expand your knowledge, expand your vocabulary by reading, by learning about many different topics, many different contexts. All right? And that brings me to the next word, ascendancy. A S C E N D A N C Y. Ascendancy. Let’s take a look at how we used that in context. We said it was not until the 19th century that the ascendancy of modern chemistry began.

[00:18:01] So in this context, we use the word ascendancy. What do you think? What does it mean? Does it mean embarrassment? Does it mean diminishing importance? Does it mean royal approval? Or does it mean dominance? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:18:23] Now for those of you who thought dominance is the right answer, you are absolutely right. If one group has ascendancy over another group, it has more power or influence than the other group. It has influence, power, rule, it has dominance. That’s the meaning of ascendancy, and again, it’s a formal word I’ll have to say.

[00:18:43] Anyway, that was another word that we used in today’s episode, and I hope that this word is new for you and you are going to add it to your active vocabulary bank. Now, we still have a couple of words to go, so don’t go anywhere. We’re gonna talk next about rudimentary R U D I M E N T A R Y. Rudimentary.

[00:19:02] Let’s see how we used that in context. Dobereiner’s, the German scientist, Dobereiner’s rudimentary observations set off a search for more relationships. And in 1866, an English chemist named Newlands proposed his law of octaves, which superseded Dobreiner’s triads. So let’s focus first on rudimentary, because we’re gonna talk about supersede later, anyway, rudimentary in this context, what do you think it means?

[00:19:30] Which word could best replace rudimentary in this context? Could we replace it with foolish, advanced, insulting, or elementary? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:19:48] Now, for those of you who thought elementary is the right answer, you are absolutely right. Rudimentary things are very basic or simple and are therefore unsatisfactory. When we talk about rudimentary knowledge, for example, that means it includes only the simplest and most basic facts. So it is elementary, it’s not advanced, it’s not complex in any way.

[00:20:10] It’s rudimentary, and this is the word we used to describe, Dobereiner’s observations, not to take anything from the guy. Of course not. Because his, even rudimentary observations in our standards today, paved the way for more complex and more advanced observations by Newlands and finally by Medeleev. But anyway, that is the meaning of rudimentary— a very useful word.

[00:20:33] You can use it in a lot of contexts, not only in scientific contexts and in the very same context, we have the next word, supersede. S U P E R S E D E. Now pay attention to the spelling of this word because it might trick you specially sede at the end. It’s S E D E Super and S E D E. Now let’s see how we used that in context.

[00:20:56] Again, let me remind you, Dobereiner’s rudimentary observations set off a search for more relationships. And in 1866, an English chemist named Newlands proposed his law of octaves, which superseded Dobereiner’s triads. So Dobereiner’s triads was the first thing when Newlands came along with his octaves; that superseded Dobereiner’s triads, that’s the word, That’s the context.

[00:21:23] So what do you think superseded means? Do you think it means ignored, replaced, satisfied, or explored? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:21:41] Now, for those of you who thought replaced is the best answer, you’re absolutely right. If something is superseded by something newer, It is replaced because it has become old-fashioned or unacceptable. So the new thing kind of overruled the old, annuled the old thing, superseded. And that’s exactly what happened with Newlands’ octaves, the octave’s theory

[00:22:05] superseded Dobereiner’s triads. They replaced this old fashioned, remember rudimentary theory by Dobereiner, and that’s the word supersede. We still have two words to go. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll talk next about lingo. L I N G O lingo. How did we use that in context? Here we come to the point when we started to talk about the work of Mendeleev, the Russian scientist, and we said, without resorting to scientific lingo or confusing mathematics, he devised a chart of the elements arranged in order of weight that could be understood by almost anyone.

[00:22:43] So lingo should be easy for you to guess because it’s very close to the actual meaning of the word. But anyway, which word or words do you think could best replace lingo in this context? Do you think we could replace it with, uh, stories, with tricks, with specialized vocabulary or with proofs? Which one do you think is the right answer?

[00:23:04] Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:23:11] Now for those of you who thought specialized vocabulary is the right answer, is the best answer. You’re absolutely right. People sometimes refer to a foreign language, especially one that they do not speak or understand as a lingo, but that’s not everything. When we talk about science, we can use that for scientific lingo.

[00:23:30] Like when we say jargon, The word jargon means specialized vocabulary for a certain field of science or anything else, but specially science. So the beautiful thing Mendeleev did is that he didn’t use any scientific lingo and made it very easy for anyone to understand his chart. That’s why it is a very special achievement.

[00:23:52] That was the word lingo, and we are left with the very last word for today’s episode, and that is blazoned, B L A Z O N E D, blazoned. How did we use that in context? We said today in almost any scientific laboratory in the world, the periodic table of the elements is blazoned on the wall —an enduring tribute to the work of Dimitri Mendeleev.

[00:24:17] So what about this word? What does it mean, do you think it means displayed? Do you think it means carefully hidden? Does it mean again, specialized vocabulary or does it mean disguised? Which one do you think is the right answer? Think about it, and I’ll be right back.

[00:24:37] Now for those of you who thought displayed is the right answer, you are absolutely right to be blazoned across, on or over something means to be written or shown on something in a very noticeable way. Like you’re boasting something and you put it on the wall like a kind of a very prestigious certificate or degree or something.

[00:24:58] It is blazoned on your wall. You find that in doctors’ offices all the. They have their certificates and their degrees blazoned on the wall, or sometimes it may be something different. It doesn’t have to be a certificate or degree. You display it somewhere very noticeable because you are kind of proud of it.

[00:25:15] It is a prominent thing that you want everybody to see when they walk in your office, your room, your house, it doesn’t matter. So this is the meaning of blazoned. Remember the context that will help you use this word in the future. The table of elements, the periodic table of the elements is blazoned on the wall.

[00:25:31] All right, and with that, we come to the very last word for today’s episode. Remember we talked about 10 words today in the context of charting the elements. Our story for today, we talked about unfounded, alchemy infidel, futile, extrapolate, ascendancy, rudimentary, supersede, lingo, and finally blazoned. I hope you found the story interesting.

[00:25:56] I hope you learned new things. And of course, I hope that you can add these 10 words to your active vocabulary bank, and there’s only one way to do that. I can’t repeat that enough. You need to practice these words if you want to make sure these words will stay with you forever in your active vocabulary bank.

[00:26:14] This bank of words that you can use in your own writing and speaking. That’s why you are interested in word power in the first place, and you don’t have to search anywhere because everything you need is right in the description of the episode, there’s a link that will take you to a custom post I created on my website, englishpluspodcast.com.

[00:26:33] In the post, you’ll find everything you need, and there’s also, as I told you at the beginning of this episode, this new thing that I added, especially for those people who are kind of struggling to understand every single word I say. It’s not just a transcript, it’s an interactive transcript, so you see what you hear.

[00:26:49] It’s very special. It’s very useful, especially for those of you who can’t understand every single word I say. Just check it out and I’m confident that you’re gonna appreciate it. But of course, that’s not everything. For practice purposes, there are the interactive activities that you can use. You can do them on your mobile phone, on your pc, on your tablet.

[00:27:07] Or if you prefer pen and paper, there’s also the PDF practice worksheet where you can practice not only the words we learned in today’s episode, but also the words we learned in the previous four word power episodes. And with that being said, that’ll be everything for today. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode.

[00:27:23] I hope you enjoyed another word, power episode, and I’m going to meet you again this week and we’re going to have a very special episode at the end of the week. Now, with that being said, this is your host, Danny. I would like to thank you very much for listening to another episode from English Plus Podcast.

[00:27:36] I will see you next time.

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