Author: Jan Scholten
The name is derived from ‘Helios’ the sun and the sun God. The element was first discovered in 1868 in the spectrum of the sunlight.
It is being formed inside the sun through a fusion between hydrogen atoms, and the energy that is released during this nuclear reaction is the energy that radiates out from the sun.
Helium is an odourless and colourless gas, just like the other rare gases, and it does not react with any other element.
It is being used to fill balloons, because it so light. Hydrogen is an even lighter gas, but it is very inflammable, as we know from the Zeppelin disaster. When Helium is cooled down and becomes liquid (below 4K) it acquires some very curious characteristics: it becomes super-conductive, it doesn't not have any electrical resistance anymore and it climbs up the walls of containers as if it is defying gravity.