Hydrogen is more plentiful in our universe than all other chemicals; it makes up three-fourth of all mass.Helium is formed from the activity of the stars when their hydrogen atoms interact while in the process of forming energy. Helium, thus, is the by product of this intensive activity. Although having been here since the beginning of time, all other chemicals being created from it or from other chemicals and combinations created from its secondary sources, it was not discovered until Henry Cavendish, an English physicist and chemist discovered it in 1776.
His inherited fortune was used by his relatives to establish the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University in 1871. The Cavendish experiment, a way of measuring the density and mass of the earth was of his doing. He, however, did not give this most important chemical its name; Antione Lavoisier, living and working at the same time as Cavendish, did that. Lavoisier is now generally accepted as being the father of modern chemistry.
Hydrogen, symbolically known as H, is found everywhere and it is the force powering the universe; in other words it is generally thought to be what makes the world go around. It is part and parcel, or at least 90 percent of all atoms.
The production of Hydrogen is a big industry in the United States, and elsewhere.
In fact, online sources say that in the United States alone the production amounts to about 3 billion cubic feet per year. Since its melting point is 20 degrees above zero, it is useful in cryogenics, (the study of extremely cold temperatures), and in superconductivity; this meaning it has the ability to conduct electricity without interference.
Experiments are ongoing, one leading to another. The most dreadful one, of course, was the discovery that bombs could be made from hydrogen; and history will forever tell of the dreadful aftereffects of such knowledge. This article, however, is only to describe hydrogen and tell of its place in the universe and of its use in science, not to judge those using it.
Therefore, what is the makeup of this lightest of all elements that no one can see, taste, or smell? It is, in it purest form, a gas. Although being so light and so easily transformable its collision with other gases forces an earth landing. In other words it does not generally float around by itself.
Now landed, it is usually seen in combination as water; and it is chemically known as H2O. The symbol tells us that water is one part helium and two parts oxygen. Of course water has other chemicals and many impurities, but in its purest uncontaminated form it is as described.
It is also part of the makeup of living matter such as plants and humans and animals, i.e., all living things and in all previous living matter such as fossil fuels. These are oil and gas and coal. Hydrogen is used commercially in many industrial efforts. To name a few, nitrogen fixation, and one we all are familiar with, the hydrogenation, or the solidifying of fats and oils. (Once this was the way to go when purchasing hydrogenated oil as cooking oil, now it known to be heart unfriendly.)
It is used in welding metal to metal, filling balloons, and in
many kinds of ore smelting operations. But its most usefulness to mankind may be yet to come. In the planning stages are numerous earth friendlier means of producing the necessary needed energy; and all of this needing hydrogen.
A plea that this great potential will be used for health and for the welfare of humanity and not for any potential destruction. Hydrogen potential is so powerful it can go either way. With the right attitude and the right purpose in mind, what have we to fear?