Barium loves to buddy up with other chemicals, which means it doesn’t occur on its own in nature.
This alkaline earth metal (symbol Ba and atomic number 56) is used to visualise the gut during diagnostic x-rays and will be familiar to anyone who has had to go to hospital for a barium meal or a barium enema.
Professor Allan Blackman from AUT explores barium in episode 8 of Elemental.
The Elemental podcast is celebrating 150 years since the periodic table was first published by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev.
Find out more about events during the United Nation’s International Year of the Periodic Table.
Nights with Bryan Crump is also celebrating the chemical elements during their Friday night Sonic Tonic and Element of the Week.
Professor Allan Blackman is at Auckland University of Technology.