13-Al The mystery of the dissapearing Polonium

Today we provide you with a misterious disparition: that of Polonium. Ths time we will deal with the shape of the Periodic Table, rather than on its content.

First, we start from the standard view of the Periodic Table:


But we will take just a block of elements, that show below:


Now if we focus our attention on these elements, we have


Let’s consider now just the geometric form of such a block of elements: we erase the atomic symbols, except for Polonium.


Let’s print this pattern on paper or cardboard, with Polonium being the only element actually depicted. Then, we draw four shapes: two triangles (1 and 2), and two shapes (3 and 4). Polonium is then cut out and put aside. Forms 1 through 4 are cut out as well, thus leaving the layout they show in the Periodic Table, as depicted below:


Now we encounter the mysterious disparition of Polonium: if we interchange positions of triangles 1 and 2, and shape 3 is placed above piece 4… the same surface of the original Periodic Table is spanned…. yet there is no longer any hole present! Polonium cannot fit, its spot has blown out!

Ahora vien la desaparición misteriosa del Polonio: si se intercambian las posiciones de los triángulos 1 y 2, y la forma 3 se encabalca encima de la 4… se ocupa la misma superficie original de la tabla perióica… pero ya no hay ningún agujero presente!!! El Polonia ya no cabe, su sitio ha desaparecido!


This is the so-calld Curry Paradox, here applied to the Periodic Tble and to disparition of a chemical elements. More information in Wikipedia: Missing square puzzle.