Last week I was speaking to a Chinese-speaking colleague when the concept of ‘noble gas‘ came up. Initially, translation was a problem, because it turns out the Chinese phrase is ‘lazy gas’ or 惰性气体. The difference made me wonder enough to go back and check where the English phrase came from. It was translated directly from the German ‘Edelgas,’ coined by German chemist Hugo Erdmann in 1898.
Noble or lazy — it’s all a matter of perspective