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I was searching for a specific element, but I couldn't find it. So I called three scientists in different countries in order to find the element.

three flags

What was the element I was looking for, and where am I able to find it?

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2 Answers 2

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You were looking for

cadmium

and you finally found it in

Poland.

After all, when you called the three scientists,

you first had to use their respective countries' calling codes. Those are the atomic numbers of Po, La, and Nd. So the scientists told you to try calling Poland — and that made you dial the atomic number of cadmium. To actually get the cadmium, though, calling was not enough: you had to go pick it up yourself.

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I think you're looking for...

one of:
- element 84, POLONIUM,
- element 96, CURIUM, or
- element 48, CADMIUM

All of which you might find in PoLaNd, depending on how you define your search...

Why the strange capitalisation there? Well, first let's identify the three flags. These are those of:

Vietnam, Colombia, and Malaysia.

We clearly need to use these identities somehow to produce some recognisable hint to a solution. After fruitlessly considering the country names, their capital cities, and their ISO-2 codes, I finally hit upon...

...their international dialling codes. These are, respectively, +84, +57, and +60.

Since we are dealing with elements, it's then a natural follow-on thought to...

...look up the elements with these atomic numbers in the Periodic Table. These are the elements Polonium (Po), Lanthanum (La), and Neodymium (Nd).

String these three symbols together to get the word PoLaNd - we're clearly on the right track (or this is one heck of a coincidence)! So if we need to look for an element in Poland, there are three choices I can see immediately:

- the one that's named after the country: POLONIUM (from Polonia, the Latin for Poland);
- the one that's named after a scientist of Polish nationality: CURIUM (named after its Polish discoverer, Marie Curie, and her husband Pierre); or
- the one whose atomic number is 48, which is the dialling code for Poland: CADMIUM.

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