Today is the Italian day to promote reading, so we would like to share a short story titled:


When Mr. Livio Campana, in 2004, discovered first the fiber laser technology for sheet metal cutting, he had to find a name for the new company destined to go down in history thanks to its revolutionary discovery. Together with his daughter Martina and his son Federico he chose CYLASER because in their minds C was for Campana and Y was for Ytterbium. But what is ytterbium and what about its fascinating story?

In Sweden, off the coast of Stockholm, there is a huge archipelago of several islands, including the island of Resarö with its small village of Ytterby. Here, walking through the woods, you can come across a memorial plate affixed by the ASM International (American Society for Metals), the widest global association of engineers and materials scientists. This plate celebrates the Ytterby mine, a very important historical site for science and modern society, also known as the “Galapagos of the periodic table of elements”. There, important natural elements, parts of the periodic table and known as rare-earth elements, have been discovered and ytterbium was one of those. It is a very rare element with a shiny metallic appearance, used in specific sectors such as optics and electronics, and especially in some kinds of laser.

If you would like to deepen the story of ytterbium, we suggest the book The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements of Sam Kean.