If you have been living on Mars [more on this soon] for the last week or so you may not have realised that the 30th Olympics have started in London. For everybody else I am sure that you were aware of this fact.

I have been swept along by the excitement gripping the UK and the nations obsession with getting a gold medal. We have none yet but are hopefully by the close of play today we will have achieved two golds – fingers crossed! In order to send some positive wining subliminal messages to our athletes I thought I would do my part and write a posting on the element we are obsessing about – Gold.

Mankind has been fascinated with gold for since the start of history. The soft, uncreative, shiny metal has been used to trade (ie, it has monetary value) and make jewelery. In more modern times it has also been used in electronics.

The word gold came from an old English / German word ‘gulth’ meaning bright and ‘gohl’ meaning yellow. It’s symbol, Au, comes from the Latin word ‘aurum’ meaning shining dawn.

Gold is an extremely malleable metal – 1g of it can be hammered to form a sheet of gold leaf approx. 1m2! It is rare and throughout all of  mankind’s history it is estimated that 165,000 tonnes have been mined. That is only enough gold to form a cube approx 20m3 (or coming back to the Olympic theme, this volume would take up around 40% of the space in an Olympic sized swimming pool – which is not much at all)

Perhaps the most amazing fact about the metal is that is thought to have been formed through a star undergoing a supernova! Tell your students that – the gold they are wearing comes from an exploded star. They will love that.

So if any team GB athletes are reading this – see if you can win one for us all!

The facts from this blog posting were obtained from the Wikpiedia article on Gold, accessed on 1st August 2012 at 7:33am (click here for the article)