About the Element
Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal. It has the symbol Th and atomic number 90.

Found on Lvy Island, Norway and later identified by the Swedish chemist Jns Jakob Berzelius in 1828. Berzelius analyzed it and named it after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. The metal had virtually no uses until the invention of the gas mantle in 1885. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils, where it is about three times more abundant than uranium.

When heated in air, thorium metal turnings ignite and burn brilliantly with a white light. Because of these properties, thorium has found applications in light bulb elements, lantern mantles, arc-light lamps, welding electrodes and heat-resistant ceramics. Glass containing thorium oxide has a high refractive index and dispersion and is used in high quality lenses for cameras and scientific instruments.

About the Print
Another usage of thorium is as an alternative nuclear fuel to uranium. This fact inspired the “gasoline” fuel pump in the design. The colors of the Norwegian flag (red, blue, white) were used to represent the region in which the first sample was taken. As Thor was used to give this element a name, a representation of a Norseman in the background in red was used to form a background with a simple pattern running along the edge to balance out the print.

The print was created by hand pulling the image from two 6”x6” linocut blocks, using Rives lightweight paper and Daniel Smith oil inks

About the Printmaker
Ellen Brooks currently resides in Bismarck, North Dakota. She has been creating works of art since she was very young and continues to do so and explore new techniques today. Her main focus of expression is through illustration, acrylic & watercolor painting, mosaic tile works, digital art & photography. Recently, she picked up relief printing with linocuts again and has found a new love for this medium.


by Ellen Brooks

see also: Aluminum

Symbol: Th
Atomic number: 90
Atomic weight: 232.038