Atomic number: 1
Atomic weight: 1.008
Element category: reactive nonmetal
Hydrogen is the chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number 1. With a standard atomic weight of 1.008, hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all baryonic mass. Non-remnant stars are mainly composed of hydrogen in the plasma state. The most common isotope of hydrogen, termed protium (name rarely used, symbol 1H), has one proton and no neutrons.
Hydrogen can form compounds with elements that are more electronegative, such as halogens (F, Cl, Br, I), or oxygen; Hydrogen also forms compounds with less electronegative elements, such as metals and metalloids, where it takes on a partial negative charge. These compounds are often known as hydrides. The existence of the hydride anion, suggested by Gilbert N. Lewis in 1916 for group 1 and 2 salt-like hydrides, was demonstrated by Moers in 1920 by the electrolysis of molten lithium hydride (LiH), producing a stoichiometric quantity of hydrogen at the anode.
Hydrogen forms a vast array of compounds with carbon called the hydrocarbons, and an even vaster array with heteroatoms that, because of their general association with living things, are called organic compounds. In inorganic chemistry, hydrides can also serve as bridging ligands that link two metal centers in a coordination complex. This function is particularly common in group 13 elements, especially in boranes (boron hydrides) and aluminium complexes, as well as in clustered carboranes.
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