Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Daily Hump: Where's Valentinius?

Humping and Valentine's Day go together like wine and stinky cheese: Accoding to the Catholic Encyclopedia, via Wikipedia,
...the saint whose feast was celebrated on the day now known as St. Valentine's Day was possibly one of three martyred men named Valentinus who lived in the late third century...The name was a popular one in Late Antiquity, with its connotations of valens, "being strong". Several emperors and a pope bore the name, not to mention a powerful gnostic teacher of the second century, Valentinius, for a time drawing a threateningly large following.
You (al)chemists in the crowd probably noticed that valens looks a lot like valence, as in the electronic shell that encases an atom. Valence electrons are the negatively-charged particles that orbit in this shell; the more of these (max 8), the less likely the atom will react with anything.

Another form of valens, valere (be strong), is the root of our word valiant. These words all come from Proto-Indo-European base *wal-, likewise meaning "be strong," which happens to also be the roots of the Germanic names Walter and Waldo.

Saint Valentine [Wikipedia]
valence electrons [Wikipedia]
Valentine [Online Etymology Dictionary]
valence [Online Etymology Dictionary]
valiant [Online Etymology Dictionary]
Waldo and Walter [Behind the Name]

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:: posted by David, 8:04 AM

2 Comments:

In Valen's Name! (Shout out to all your Babylon 5 fans!)
Blogger Loocite, at 10:03 AM  
Heh. If atoms are covalent does that mean they have to go to a codependency therapist?
Blogger Auntie Sarah, at 11:20 AM  

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