facebook – here, originally.
“This bit of humor was written in April 1988 and appeared in the January 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher. William DeBuvitz was a physics professor at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey (USA). He retired in June of 2000.”
‘The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by chemists. The element, tentatively named Administratum, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However it does have:
125 assistant neutrons
111 assistant vice-neutrons
This gives it an atomic mass of 312. The 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.
Since it has no electrons, Administratum is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every action with which it comes in contact. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratum causes one reaction to take four days to complete when it would have normally occured in less than one second.
Administratum has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not actually decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons, and assistant vice-neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that atomic mass actually increases after each reorganization.
Research at other laboratories indicates that Administratum occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities and can usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.
Chemists point out that Administratum is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reaction where it is allowed to accumulate.
Attempts are being made to determine how Administratum can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.’
While we wait, we could all learn the words to Tom Lehrer’s classic…