Etsy Wednesday – Happy Birthday Geek

You can spell words with the abbreviations from the periodic table. It doesn’t always work well because not all letters and letter combinations are represented. There is no “E”, so spell “geek”, for example, you need to use one of the elements starting with “E” that doesn’t really fit in the word. Etsy seller Shop Gibberish uses Einsteinium (Es) which is at least thematically appropriate for the “happy birthday geek” message of the card.
birthday geek



Eva Amsen is a writer, science communicator and blogger, interested in the overlap between science and music, art, pop culture, and daily life. Portfolio | Twitter | Contact

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22 Responses

  1. Sabine Hossenfelder says:

    We had a Christmas quiz along those lines two years back. An happy birthday to Richard too 🙂

  2. Richard P. Grant says:

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Lou Woodley says:

    Happy Birthday, Richard!
    This series is a lot of fun, Eva – I’m getting some great ideas 🙂 Has anyone tried playing Periodic Table Scrabble?

  4. Matt Brown says:

    Richard – as a special birthday treat, I’ve featured you on

  5. Stephen Curry says:

    Many happy returns!

  6. Richard P. Grant says:

    thanks all. heh, Matt, I guess that means I should blog something?
    Lou, I *heart* the idea of PT scrabble. Can we make it and sell it?

  7. vishal kalel says:

    Nice post Eva.
    and Birthday Wishes to Richard..!
    Cheers… 🙂

    How about some protein talk?
    I had made this Protein Talk Game, you are welcome to compete for the high scoring protein!
    (The image is hyperlinked to the post on my blog!)

  8. Lou Woodley says:

    Richard – we’d have to think carefully about the rules – I was having real trouble making many words earlier because of all the double consonants. Maybe we’d need to allow splitting of elements (!) so e.g. Cd + O could spell cod
    _Plus_ Co + P spells “cop” but so does C + O + P so you’d have to decide which you got more points for…(it’s usually more impressive to play 3 pieces but getting rid of a tile with double consonants would be hard in this version)
    Ok, I clearly need to get a life…!

  9. Richard Wintle says:

    HArPPYbIrThDy, RICHArDy P GeRaNTi!!!!
    Best I can do. At least I’m not a day late as usual.

  10. Richard Wintle says:

    Blast it. Should have been RhICHArDy. Straight back to high school chemistry for me.

  11. Matt Brown says:

    I’m sooo going to use this idea in the next science pub quiz I write.

  12. Eva Amsen says:

    I go away to a conference and everyone is celebrating Richard’s birthday in my house while I’m gone…
    Please don’t break anything.

  13. Brian Derby says:

    So you think Richard is a geek?
    Geek, n. U.S. slang. A performer at a carnival or circus whose show consists of bizarre or grotesque acts, such as biting the head off a live animal.
    1919 Billboard (Cincinnati) 25 Oct. 74/4 (advt.) At Liberty{em}Snake charmer or geek man; would like to join show going south. 1935 Amer. Mercury June 229 Geek, a degenerate who bites off the heads of chickens in a gory cannibal show. 1948 N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 7 Mar. 25 An amiable alcoholic who keeps a real live chicken-eating geek in his garden. 1961 Times Lit. Suppl. 27 Jan. 62/2 He..enslaves a ‘geek’, a dumb sideshow stooge whose daily routine consists of being exhibited in a pit which he has to dig for himself. 1975 R. DAVIES World of Wonders (1977) I. viii. 130, I was compelled to exhibit Willard as a geek… You lecture for a while on the yearning of the geek for raw flesh. 2001 H. BONE (title) Side show: My life with geeks, freaks & vagabonds in the carny trade.

  14. Eva Amsen says:

    Biting the heads off chickens? That _does_ sound like something he would do. Richard is hardcore like that. And he admits to “being a geek”: himself.

  15. vishal kalel says:

    Birthday wishes to Richard.!
    Nice Find Eva..
    I wonder you do lots of research on birthday wishes..

  16. Ken Doyle says:

    Happy happy!

  17. Richard P. Grant says:

    “Geek, a degenerate”
    quite right, too.

  18. Angela Saini says:

    What a brilliant card. Happy birthday Richard!

  19. Kausik Datta says:

    You folks are an incorrigible bunch! You re-injected – afresh – the idea of geekdom in the middle of my day, and I got side-tracked into a pleasant diversion…

    It appears that the amino-acid sequence HAPPY appears in several micro-organisms, as calcium channel subunits, metallophosphoesterases, ABC transporters amongst others.

    However, perhaps not suprisingly, sapient hominids have no HAPPY sequence, though there is a CRAPPY sequence, inside a putative mitochondrial alanyl-tRNA synthetase 2! No wonder we are what we are!!

    Many happy and geeky returns of this day, Richard! You are unique, since there is no RICHARD sequence in Homo sapiens either.

  20. Richard P. Grant says:

    Oh yes, the finding your name in the genome thing. Such a laugh, especially as my last protein had an RPG, and FAART and AARSE (they lined up, being conserved between two domains).

  21. vishal kalel says:

    I had made a Protein Talk game out of this long time back, I posted it on my blog yesterday.

  22. Richard Wintle says:

    I’m still hunting for the elusive ELVISLIVES motif myself.