What is a palindrome and how many palindromes are found in the periodic table?

A palindrome, of course, is a word, phrase, or number sequence that can be read the same way forward and backward.

An example would be the number 1234321 or the phrase “Egad, a base tone denotes a bad age.”

Based on that, then, there are no palindromes in the names of the elements. Of course, the atomic numbers make several palindromes (e.g., all of the single-digit numbers plus 11, 22, 33, etc.) but that’s really boring.

You can find quite a few element abbreviations with a single letter as well—, technically making them palindromes: H (hydrogen), B (boron), C (carbon), N (nitrogen), 0 (oxygen), F (fluorine), P (phosphorus), S (sulfur), K (potassium), V (vanadium), Y (yttrium), I (iodine), W (tungsten), and U (uranium). Boy . . . ain’t that fascinating.

All right, then. The only palindrome in the periodic table that even approaches cool has got to be unununium. No, the name itself doesn’t work (though it almost looks like it should).

However, its symbol is UUU. But wait, there’s more: Unununium’s atomic number is 111. You can’t get much better than that.

Trust us, —we just spent more hours looking at the periodic table than we ever thought possible.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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