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60-Second Symposium

1 minute read
Harriet Barovick, Matthew Cooper, Autumn De Leon, Andrew Goldstein, Daniel S. Levy, Lina Lofaro, Desa Philadelphia and Chris Taylor

First there was a gold card and a gold record. Then platinum records and cards. But Platinum’s now a deodorant, so it’s time to find a new prestige metal. We asked some experts.

Iridium is rarer, costlier and even more resistant to corrosion than platinum, and its name comes from iris, the rainbow, from the lovely play of color in iridium salts. I would love to carry an iridium credit card. –Dr. Oliver Sacks, author

There’s going to be a reaction against all this weight-reduction jazz, and ponderous will be the fashion. What better metal as an emblem for that new age than tungsten–the highest melting, the strongest, the ultimate heavy metal. –Roald Hoffmann, department of chemistry, Cornell

If you want to make a statement with a really, really expensive metal, you could go with osmium. My personal favorite is gadolinium. When you say it fast, it sings. On the more fanciful side, californium, for the laid-back customer, einsteinium, for the exceptionally wise money manager, neptunium, for stratospheric credit limits, and, for those just starting out, lead. –Tim Foecke, metallurgist, National Institute of Standards and Technology

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