Look around you. What do you see?
Do you really know, what is in the air that you breathe?
There is carbon dioxide, an abundance of oxygen,
In addition to other elements, including nitrogen!
There is another element, that you probably did not realize,
But that is only because, you cannot see it with your eyes.
You cannot smell it or taste it, but take a deep breath,
You inhaled 0.005% of an element, that will not cause you death.
It does not support life, or harm it in anyway,
This is why the discovery, took way more than a day.
Discovered in space, by Pierre-Jules-Cesar in 1868,
But rediscovered on earth, by Sir William Ramsay
The only element found in space before earth,
No body knew, what it would soon be worth.
The irony is, that although it is not crucial to life,
It is a very useful element, that will never cause strife.
It is an abundant element, that is found mostly in space,
As well as underground, and on earth as a trace
Lighter than air, so not gravity bound,
In space and the stars, is where it is mostly found.
It comes from the fusion, of hydrogen gas,
This is the merging of elements, not when they simply pass
Along with space, it is found under the floor
Hidden within, underground reservoirs
It comes from the breakdown, of unstable elements,
In addition to the radioactive decay, of several agents
Extracted from natural gas, keeping it is secure,
A concentration that is 99.995% pure
The United States, is the largest user,
But in addition to that, they are also the biggest producer.
It is thought of to be, as an element that is useless,
Because they had not discovered, it's several uses
The most important use, that would be doomed from an outage,
Is an important diagnosis for conditions, the Magnetic Resonance Image
Cooling the strong magnets used for scans,
Perfect for diagnosing things like a cancerous man.
Also used by those who deep sea dive,
To help ensure, that they will come out alive
Lighter than air so it relieves the pressure,
Dissolves in water, to make things better
Used in welding, to protect the metal,
From reacting with oxygen, preventing fires that are stressful
Additionally, it pressures liquid fuel rockets,
Because hydrogen is flammable, and will create fire pockets
But the most common use, I did not say,
It is to make balloons float, for a kid's birthday!
Cheap it is not, but it is very neat.
$40-50 for 9.5 cubic feet
The unit price is about 3 billion plus dollars
But that is simply because it is used by scholars
To help diagnose patients and help divers breathe
And give us some fun that we all need.
You know the name of this element; you've encountered it the most,
It is HELIUM, named after the Greek god of the sun, Helios.
To not have helium would be bad, so we must keep it safe
There is no other substance that can ever take its place.
Although hydrogen has similar properties,
Helium is not flammable, which helps us work at ease.
It also isn't toxic; it's a substance you can inhale
Which will not result in a breathing fail
A lot will displace the oxygen, without a doubt
But the worst that can happen is you will pass out.
It does not harm the atmosphere, in which it originated,
But when we run out, it can not be recreated.
All in all, helium is a very useful substance,
Used by doctors and divers and others in abundance
We must cherish this element, because it is very unique,
It's not something you can find, in an every day boutique.
1. Brady, James E., Joel Russell, and John R. Holum. Chemistry: The Study of Matter and Its Changes. New York, NYL John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993.
2. Ebbing Darrell D. General Chemistry. 4th Editoin. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
3. Hasan, Heather. Helium. New York: Rosen Pub. Group, 2007.
4. Stwertka, Albert. A Guide to the Elements. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.
5. Thomas, Jens. The Elements: The Noble Gases. New York, NY: Benchmark Books, 2002.