From Clive Tooth, Logician, Unisys Ltd, City Gate, 22 Southwark Bridge Rd, London SE1 9HB.
A couple of times recently I phoned your office concerning the weighty matter of the capitalisation of the names of chemical elements. You do not seem to have changed your policy on this subject so I am making one last plea.
I enjoy reading Computergram and I believe that it gives me a good overview of the industry within which I work. However, as with any material which is to be read, the text itself should not distract my attention from the meaning which it is trying to convey.
In today’s issue (CI No 1,993), in the story, MICROMODULE SYSTEMS FORMED IN BUYOUT OF DEC PLANT, we find, …multiple silicon or ceramic wafers…. A small ‘s’ for silicon. I believe this is correct. However, in, UNISTOR CREATES BATTERY POWERED DISK MODULE WITH 2.5 AREAL DRIVES, we find, …The rechargeable Nickel-Cadium battery…. Nickel and cadium are the names of chemical elements. They are common nouns (not proper nouns), and are not usually capitalised, even in American English. I believe this capitalisation is wrong and I find it a distraction and, somehow, old-fashioned looking. Also, I notice that you favour Gigabits: I would prefer gigabits.
The New Scientist, which refers to elements quite a lot, has got it right I think. In the August 15 edition we find hydrogen fluoride and 70 megabits per second.
Well, I have obviously got a bee in my bonnet about all this so rest assured that, even if you decide to proceed with your current policy, I will not be harassing you about it any further.