I’ve noticed that very often someone will name a fictional character or place after an element, even though there’s no connection there, Evidently they just like the sound of it. I grew up reading about Superman’s home world being Krypton, so that didn’t bother me. But when I read Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian stories, it kept wrenching me out of the story to read about the city of Helium.
So I started collecting examples. I doubt if we can fill in all the names (did anyone ever name anything after Francium?), bujt let’s see how many elements we can show were used as names or at least words unrelated to the original element
Helium – City on ERB’s Mars
Krypton – Superman’s home planet
Argon – God in Jim Theis’ notoriously bad The vEye of Argon
Xenon – Pinball game
Chlorine – Native American “Spirit guide” of 19th century medium Leonora Piper
Radon – Transliteration of the original Japanese name of the Kaiju better known as Rodan. The name is apparently a contraction of pteRAnoDON.
Iodine – “Little Iodine” was a character in two long-running comic strips by Jimmy Hatlo. You may not have heard of her, but she was around for fifty years ( http://www.toonopedia.com/iodine.htm )
Not quite unconnected with the element:
Mercury – Lots of associations with the Roman God and the Planet, named before the element, but still, the element was clearly named by associatioon with the swift god, and the planet shares the connection
Bromide – meaning an acerbic axiom. The word was coined by MIT grad turned cartoonist and poet Frank Gelett Burgess (who wrote “The Purple Cow”, among other things). His coming up with this term is clearly his MIT Chemistry training coming through.
Terms related to long-known metals – Nickel, Gold, Silver, etc. – sem to be tied to the properties of that metal, somehow, so they don’t seem to fit my initial requirement of no relation. Similarly “Neon” gets used for bright stuff because of discharge tubes filled with neon gas, so that’s out as well.
Any others? Is any character named Boron or *Tungsten or Antimony? Did someone like the name Radium so much that he used it for a character or a city?