The Olympics wouldn’t be complete without a scientific lesson about the games’ most important and sought-after element: gold.
On Thursday evening, while Usain Bolt was sprinting to his second gold medal of the Rio Olympics, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was online, sharing his extensive knowledge of the “extraordinary” precious metal.
In a series of posts to Twitter, Tyson explained how much ― or rather, how little ― gold would be needed to gild Rio’s Olympic Stadium, as well as the reason people used to bite into gold coins (a practice that lives on with Olympians pretending to gnaw on their medals).
Today, Olympic gold medals contain very little gold, would be worth about $587 each if they were melted down. But don’t let that keep you from reading these eight mind-blowing facts about the element in its pure form, told as only America’s favorite scientist could.