The Art of Science: The Lure of Lead

Lead is heavy. Not just in terms of physical density, but also of cultural weight.  Malleable, ductile and resistant to corrosion, lead has been used for over 8,000 years for many purposes. The Romans, who gave the element its name (Pb, for plumbum) built their famous water and sewer system of lead pipes, and used it to make statues, sarcophagi, cooking pots, and wine vessels.   In the middle ages, lead was used in roofing and plumbing, as well as for statues and ornaments, including the strips joining the pieces of colored glass in church windows. Up until the 20th century, lead was still widely used in paint and solder and as an additive in fuel. Continue reading “The Art of Science: The Lure of Lead”