Administratium

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link titleAdministratium is a well-known joke in scientific circles, and is a spoof both on the bureaucracy of scientific establishments and on descriptions of newly discovered chemical elements. In [[1991link title]], Thomas Kyle (the supposed discoverer of this element) was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for physics, making him one of only three fictional people to have won the award.

A common version of Administratium's description

Administratium, the heaviest known element, has no protons or electrons and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice-neutrons, and 111 assistant vice-neutrons. This gives it a mass number of 312. These 312 particles are held together in a nucleus by a force that involves the continuous exchange of particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, administratium is totally inert. However, it can be detected chemically, since it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. According to its discoverers, a tiny amount of administratium caused one reaction to take over four days to complete; the normal reaction time is less than one second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not actually decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice-neutrons, and assistant vice-neutrons exchange places. Studies have shown that the atomic mass usually increases after each reorganization.

Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points, such as governmental agencies, large corporations, and universities. It is always found in the newest, best-appointed, and best-maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reactions where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

Bureaucratite

An extension of the "Administratium" joke, Bureaucratite is a mineral that contains Administratium.

One version of the spoof public announcement reads:

"Scientists have released the secret of the source of Administratium; Administratium is refined from a repulsive amorphous material similar to a thick petroleum tar but much more viscous and sticky. This substance is known as Bureaucratite.

Bureaucratite should be avidly avoided as it almost completely freezes progress. Anything unfortunate enough to venture into a deposit of Bureaucratite is instantly trapped and becomes entirely coated with the bituminous mess, although it may take weeks or months to sink out of sight into a deposit. Many creatures, long extinct, have been discovered within such quagmires but better preserved than those found in ice or tar pits.

Extraction from a deposit, should one be so lucky, is always excrutiatingly long and painful and rarely completely successful. Many unfortunates are haunted by innocuous bits of the stuff which always turn up in the most unexpected places and inconvenient times. People unlucky enough to have been exposed to bureaucratite have exhibited dangerously raised blood pressures, heart rates and bodily temperatures along with extremes of emotion."

The author is unknown.