Field of Science

Weird Words of Science: calcium

The isolation of metallic calcium was reported by Humphrey Davy 200 years ago this year. The name comes from the Latin for lime: calx. Compounds of calcium are like duct tape – they hold lots of stuff together. Calcium carbonate keeps clams covered, calcium oxide (lime) is the mortar that held the Roman Colliseum together, and calcium sulfate (plaster of Paris) has been holding broken bones in place for more than a millennium. Calcium keeps us from being a puddle on the floor as well. More than 90% of the body's calcium stores are in the bones.

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