Where did the noble gases get their name?

1 Answer
Jul 19, 2017

Because the #"Noble Gases"# are snobs............


When the Noble Gas series were first identified (and given their lack of reactivity, this was a considerable experimental feat), they were characterized by a marked lack of reactivity, of inertness, i.e. non-reactivity. Because they did not associate with promiscuous, common reagents such as oxygen or fluorine (which are VERY promiscuous), and no examples of Noble gas compounds could be isolated, they were thought to be #"noble"#, #"unreactive"#, i.e. an exclusive set of individuals who did not associate with the laity, and kept themselves apart by reason of birth and culture.

These days we know that certain Noble Gas compounds can be isolated (of course the nobility were never so exclusive, so the name is quite apt).