According to this article, osmium is the least compressible of materials. When I looked at an encyclopedia article about osmium, I was surprised to discover that its name comes from a Greek root that means “odor.” I’d always thought it was named after the generic Anglo-Saxon word for a god, which is “os.”

Gerald Baker
Cedar Falls, Iowa

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary of Science ( 1998, Helicon ), osmium’s discoverer, Smithson Tennant, named the element “after the irritating smell of one of its oxides.” –P. Weiss