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Polymath Series #8

A cache by EthanGreen Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/11/2016
2 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Geocache Description:

A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems, such as this series of mystery caches. I hope you enjoy them all.

The cache co-ordinates provided are bogus, but within 400m. Please bring your own pen 

You are looking for the micro cache log that is hidden inside a larger object that would be deemed to be a "small" cache size. There is no room for swaps and please bring your own pen. It's hidden inside its natural environment so just reach in and grab it. Simple...for some!

Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter. The periodic table provides a useful framework for analyzing chemical behavior, and is widely used in chemistry and other sciences.

Use the Periodic Table found here and Google/Wikipedia to find the atomic numbers of the following elements to solve for GZ, which is located here:

South A B.CB

East EF E.GH


Quick Terminology Lesson - The atomic number of an atom is simply the number of protons in its nucleus. 

A = Atomic # of this element

The atomic weight of an atom is given in most cases by the mass number of the atom, equal to the total number of protons and neutrons combined.  This alkali metal has an atomic weight of 85.4678

Quick Technology Lesson - A rare earth element (REE) is one of a set of 17 chemical elements more commonly known as Lanthanides. The Japanese call them “the seeds of technology.”  The US Department of Energy calls them “technology metals.”  They make possible the high tech world we live in today.  They are the elements that have become irreplaceable to our world of technology owing to their unique magnetic, phosphorescent, and catalytic properties. Despite their name, rare earth elements are not especially rare, (The word "rare" is an archaic word for "difficult").  Watch the world struggle over these elements in the coming years.  95% of the world’s supply are mined and controlled by China, who is restricting global trade to fulfil their own internal demand for consumer electronics.  A good reason to recycle your old mobile phones.

B = Atomic # of this element

This rare earth element makes up just 0.0046% of the Earth’s Crust, making it about as common as copper.  It is a soft, silvery metal and has an atomic weight around 140. It was named after a dwarf planet discovered in 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi.


Quick Creation Lesson – The elements were largely made by stars through “Stellar nucleosynthesis”.  In the first 3 minutes, the Big Bang produced all the Hydrogen & Helium that exists today. The gas coalesced into stars where the massive heat and pressure began to fuse atoms together to make the other heavier elements (its atomic weight).  When it dies, the star explodes violently and sends these new elements out into the universe.  We are literally made of star dust.

C – Atomic # of this element

This chemical element, made inside a star, is a relatively rare element in the universe.  It is often added to aluminium or copper to produce alloys that are strong and hard, and do not create sparks when they strike a steel surface.  Very useful in spacecraft.

But be careful - when inhaled, its toxicity can cause a life threatening illness called Berylliosis. 


E = Atomic # of this element

Made during the big bang from pure energy, this is the lightest element in the periodic table. It is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, making up roughly 75% of its mass.

In the 1600’s Henry Cavendish realised this element was a discrete substance, and that if you burnt it you made water.   Hence its name. In Greek, this elements name means “Water Former”.

F = Atomic # of this element

This element was discovered around 1803/04 by William Hyde Wollaston. It is one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals with only 1 isotope (not 7), but for a long time no one really knew what to do with it. Today, its major use is in your car as part of the three-way catalytic converter first invented by Volvo in 1976, where it is used to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides you emit.  No-one likes acid rain!  


Quick History Lesson - Chemistry has evolved from many schools of thought. Egyptians concerned themselves with “Primordial forces”.  Aristotle gave us the 5 elements of fire, water, earth, air and aether which lasted 1000 years until Alchemy came along trying to “transmute” base metals into noble metals like gold….unsuccessfully.  But we should also mention wacky concepts like “Phlogiston Theory”. 

The next element was produced as early as the 17th century, but was never recognised as an element.  This was likely due to the prevalence of “Phlogiston Theory”.  This early chemical theory stated that all combustible materials were made of two parts.  One part, called phlogiston, was given off when a substance was burned, while the “dephlogisticated” part was thought to be its true form, or calx.  What was in the air did not play a role in phlogiston theory, so this element was overlooked. 

The truth started to be realised when it became obvious that metals gain weight when they rust – not possible when they were supposed to be losing phlogiston.

G = Atomic # of this element

Named in 1777, this life-giving element is a highly reactive and toxic gas that our bodies have evolved mechanisms to tolerate. It is the 3rd most common element in the universe and has a CAS Number of 7782-44-7.


Quick Geography Lesson - When it comes to the discovery of elements on the periodic table, you can divide the world into two parts—Ytterby, and everywhere else. Ytterby ("itt-ter-bee") is a village on a speck of an island outside of Stockholm. But no place on earth has been more important to the periodic table. A few places—if you count Latin names—can brag that two elements have been named for them. Ytterby has four, including this element H below. And it could have had more, since three other elements can trace their discovery to a modest mine that once supported the community there.

H = Atomic # this element

The last element you seek was discovered in 1843 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustaf Mosander.  This metal is soft enough to be cut with a knife, and is never found as a free element in nature.  It has a melting point of 1629 K (1356 °C).

Today we use it mostly to create green phosphors as part of trichromatic indoor lighting and in fuel cells.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Zvaq lbhe fgrc, ohg vgf bxnl - ur jbag ovgr!

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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