Take A Second To Glance: Caesium is a really cool element

And by cool, I don’t just mean it’s melting point of 28.5°C, one of five metals with melting points not far above Standard Temperature and Pressure.  (Five of the six alkali metals have melting points under 100°C.)

Caesium is atomic element number 55 (yes, that’s its proper spelling), and has one stable isotope (133).  It is found mostly in central Canada and north-central US, and is a byproduct of lithium production and refinement.  It was identified as an element in 1860 by German chemists Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen (the latter of whom also invented the Bunsen burner).

Caesium is an alkali metal, and is used in drilling fluid, optical glass, vacuum tubes, radiation monitoring equipment, and other uses.  It has no known biological uses, and is a low hazard to human health.  As with other alkali metals (lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium) it is highly reactive with water, with explosive results(Both are from the Periodic Videos youtube channel.)  On the Pauling scale, of all the known and tested elements caesium has the lowest Electronegativity, 0.79.



Caesium’s most important use is in atomic clocks.  The Earth’s rotation varies (speeding up and slowing down), so a solar clock cannot be highly accurate.  But Caesium atoms vibrate at a consistent rate, 9,192,631,770 times per second with little variation, making them ideal for atomic clocks.  They are accurate to within a second every three million years.

9,192,631,770 times per second would make me about 15,955,555,359,818,592,000 vibrations old.


At 9,192,631,770 vibrations per second, 15,955,555,359,818,592,000 is 1,735,689,600 seconds, or 20,089 days.  Yup, I hit 20,000 days on November 19 last year.  I doubt I’ll reach 30,000. ^_^  Caesium is 55, and so am I.

Cracker’s debut album came out in my second year of college, and shortly after my 25th birthday, in March 1992.  It’s still one of my favourite “Alternative” albums of the era.  Cracker was formed by David Lowery after Camper Van Beethoven broke up in 1990.  CVB was most famous for the song, “Take The Skinheads Bowling” which Lowery also wrote.

Lowery earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of California Santa Cruz, and holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Georgia. Smart guy, and very politically informed. He and Melissa Ferrick were behind the class action lawsuit against Spotify, forcing the company to pay $40 million to compensate songwriters.


“Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)” voiced every GenXer’s feelings.

“Happy Birthday To Me” (seen below)

“Mr. Wrong” is one of the funniest songs I know.



  1. Bruce says

    It should perhaps be noted that there is a well-established tradition in the English language that new terms are often adopted in both British English and American English, with slightly different spellings. Other countries, such as Canada and Taiwan, may often choose to adopt the British version as their accepted standard, yet some desirable information may exist that can best be found by searching for the American variant, such as for “Cesium”. Both are valid in the appropriate locations.

  2. derek says

    The UK ‘Aluminium”/ US “Aluminum” is bad enough, but UK “Niobium”/ US “Columbium” is just mindblowing….

  3. avalus says

    Cäsium also has a really nice gold colour to it and melts on hot summer days. I have a bottle full of the stuff in my glove box, left from my diploma works, love playing around with it, when it is molten.