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mercury (mûr´kye-rê) noun
1.Symbol Hg. A silvery-white poisonous metallic element, liquid at room temperature and used in thermometers, barometers, vapor lamps, and batteries and in the preparation of chemical pesticides. Atomic number 80; atomic weight 200.59; melting point -38.87°C; boiling point 356.58°C; specific gravity 13.546 (at 20°C); valence 1, 2. Also called quicksilver.
2.Temperature: The mercury had fallen rapidly by morning.
3.Any of several weedy plants of the genera Mercurialis or Acalypha.
[Middle English mercurie, from Medieval Latin mercurius, from Latin Mercurius, Mercury.]
Mercury (mûr´kye-rê) noun
1.Roman Mythology. A god that served as messenger to the other gods and was himself the god of commerce, travel, and thievery.
2.The smallest of the inner planets and the one nearest the sun, having a sidereal period of revolution about the sun of 88.0 days at a mean distance of 58.3 million kilometers (36.2 million miles) and a mean radius of approximately 2,414 kilometers (1,500 miles).
inconsistent, fickle, mercurial, capricious
active: frisky, coltish, dashing, sprightly, mercurial, spirited, mettlesome, live, alive and kicking, full of beans, animated, ebullient, chipper, peppy, vivacious, lively
Mercury (element), symbol Hg, metallic element, a liquid at room temperature, with an atomic number of 80 and an atomic weight of 200.59. Mercury is one of the transition elements of the periodic table (see Periodic Law). Mercury occurs in its pure form or combined with silver in small amounts but is found most often as the sulfide ore cinnabar.
Mercury is used in thermometers and other scientific equipment, including vacuum pumps, barometers, and electric rectifiers and switches. Mercury vapor is used in lamps as a source of ultraviolet radiation and in place of steam in the boilers of some turbine engines. Mercury combines with all the common metals, except iron and platinum, to form alloys called amalgams.
Mercury vapor is acutely hazardous. Chronic mercury poisoning, which occurs when small amounts of the metal or its salts are repeatedly swallowed over time, causes irreversible brain, liver, and kidney damage. Significant quantities of mercury have been found in some species of fish, arousing concern about uncontrolled discharge of the metal into the environment.
Mercury (planet), planet closest to the sun, at an average distance of about 58 million km (about 36 million mi). Its diameter is 4875 km (3030 mi), and its volume and mass are about those of Earth. Mercury revolves about the sun in 88 days. Its period of rotation is 58.7 days, two-thirds of its period of revolution. The planet rotates one and a half times during each revolution. Mercury is the only planet except Earth with density and composition close to those of Earth and with a magnetic field. The planet's outer core must be a liquid iron compound that produces a magnetic field as it moves. Only an extremely thin atmosphere, containing sodium and potassium, exists on Mercury, apparently diffusing from the crust of the planet. Photographs of Mercury's surface show craters and steep cliffs. Temperatures on Mercury reach about 430° C (about 810° F) on the sunlit side and about -180° C (about -290° F) on the dark side. Radio telescopes have identified vast sheets of ice in Mercury's polar regions.
You all know what mercury looks like-at room temperature it's a silvery liquid that flows, it's like a mirror. For the alchemists, and this is just a very short exercise in alchemical thinking, for the alchemists mercury was mind itself, in a sense, and by tracing through the steps by which they reached that conclusion you can have a taste of what alchemical thinking was about. Mercury takes the form of its container. If I pour mercury into a cup, it takes the shape of the cup, if I pour it into a test tube, it takes the shape of the test tube. This taking the shape of its container is a quality of mind and yet here it is present in a flowing, silvery metal. The other thing is, mercury is a reflecting surface. You never see mercury, what you see is the world which surrounds it, which is perfectly reflected in its surface like a moving mirror, you see. And then if you've ever, as a child, I mean I have no idea how toxic this process is, but I spent a lot of time as a child hounding my grandfather for his hearing aid batteries which I would then smash with a hammer and get the mercury out and collect it in little bottles and carry it around with me. Well, the wonderful thing about mercury is when you pour it out on a surface and it beads up, then each bead of mercury becomes a little microcosm of the world. And yet the mercury flows back together into a unity. Well, as a child I had not yet imbibed the assumptions and the ontology of science. I was functioning as an alchemist. For me, mercury was this fascinating magical substance onto which I could project the contents of my mind. And a child playing with mercury is an alchemist hard at work, no doubt about it.
Well, what these new
technologies are doing is dissolving
boundaries. The nation state, the monolithic party, and
the nuclear family---all boundary-defined institutions of one sort or
another---are legacies of the past; what we need is an ideology that
is mercurial, shifting, non-static. And as long as we’re talking about
mercury and mercurial things, there is in alchemy (a pre-modern form
of thinking) the idea of the Coincidencia Oppositorum, which means
that you have to have ideologies which are able to accommodate
positions which within the context of the previous ideology would’ve
appeared contradictory. The very notion of non-contradiction is a
notion that emerges out of the linear, print-created mindset; the
whole sterility of that world-view is its inability to live with the
presence of contradiction. And so it denies it, which creates the
unconscious of a society where we’ve got serial killers running
around. The world is not as simple as we desperately wish to make it
within the context of the linear world-view.
- Terence McKenna
The most famous alchemist was 16th-century Philippus Paracelsus of Switzerland, who held that the elements of compound bodies were salt, sulfur, and mercury, representing, respectively, earth, air, and water; fire he regarded as nonmaterial. He believed that one undiscovered element existed from which the other elements came. He called this prime element alkahest, maintaining that if it were found, it would be the philosopher's stone.
When Hans Jenny experimented with fluids of various kinds he produced wave motions, spirals, and wave-like patterns in continuous circulation. In his research with plant spores, he found an enormous variety and complexity, but even so, there was a unity in the shapes and dynamic developments that arose. With the help of iron filings, mercury, viscous liquids, plastic-like substances and gases, he investigated the three-dimensional aspects of the effect of vibration.
ohm (om), unit of electrical RESISTANCE, defined as the resistance to the flow of a steady electric current offered by a column of mercury 14.4521 grams in mass with a length of 1.06300 m and with an invariant cross-sectional area, when at a temperature of 0 degrees centigrade.