Why Gold? A Chemical Engineer Explains How It Handily Beat Out the Other Elements

Although gold bugs and many new age fantasists find mystical reasons for gold's enduring value, Sanat Kumar, Chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department, Columbia University, had a more sensible explaination for National Public Radio.

NPR interviewed Professor Kumar on the subject:

The periodic table lists 118 different chemical elements. And yet, for thousands of years, humans have really, really liked one of them in particular: gold. Gold has been used as money for millennia, and its price has been going through the roof.

Why gold? Why not osmium, lithium, or ruthenium?

We went to an expert to find out: Sanat Kumar, a chemical engineer at Columbia University. We asked him to take the periodic table, and start eliminating anything that wouldn't work as money.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

Read the interview transcript here.


Danielle Kozich's picture

That is a great story. I heard it on my way into work the other day.

Kent Harrington's picture

If you go to the NPR website, you'll see a great pic of Sanat. This story and the pic help cultivate a more realistic view of chemical engineers-- particularly if you go to his university website and read his CV-- vary nano.