Blogs & Videos: Gems/Minerals

How the Hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone Led to Phosphorus

What glows in the dark, is flammable, and was first discovered in human urine? While this substance may sound dangerous (and a little gross), it exists in foods we eat and in the world around us. We’re talking about phosphorus, the 13th element. Phosphorus is mainly produced in exploding massive stars, known as core-collapse supernovae. It is the 18th-most abundant element in the universe and the 13th-most abundant element in Earth’s crust.

Study on sulfur-rich comet dust published

Robert A. Pritzker Assistant Curator of Meteoritics and Polar Studies Philipp Heck and co-authors from the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry in Germany had their paper on the first isotopic analysis of sulfur-rich comet dust published in the April issue of the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science. The dust was captured during a flyby of Comet Wild 2 by NASA’s Stardust Mission and returned to Earth.