So you think that the spells that Harry Potter casts are tongue-twisters? I’m betting none of the ancient incantations thrown around in the upcoming “Deathly Hallows” movie can hold a candle to the patter song that Daniel Radcliffe reeled off during a recent appearance on the BBC’s “Graham Norton Show.” And not just any song: It’s “The Elements,” the classic rendition of the periodic table that was penned by musical humorist Tom Lehrer and set to the tune of “The Major General’s Song” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance.”
Since Lehrer wrote that song in 1959, several other elements have been “discahvah’d,” including bohrium, copernicium, darmstadtium, dubnium, hassium, lawrencium, meitnerium, roentgenium, rutherfordium and seaborgium. Add in the synthetic, not quite named elements — such as ununhexium, ununoctium, ununpentium, ununquadium and ununtrium — and you’ve got a real tongue-twister. Or is that a magic spell?