Esential elements (2003)
2003 cartoon-style depiction of the "essential" elements required to "make one human". [7]
In human chemistry, human element or human chemical element is a metaphor-like phrase used to define a person from a chemical perspective. The term was first used in 1914 by English-born American engineer William Fairburn in his book Human Chemistry. [1] The term was employed in the 1940s by French philosopher Pierre Teilhard in his discussion on evolution, from the hydrogen atom to man. [2] In 2006, Dow Chemical pushed out a large advertising campaign promoting the idea of the "human element", symbol Hu, as the missing ingredient in life. [3] In modern terms, the human being is correctly considered as a "human molecule". [4]

Fairburn | Human chemical elements
In 1914, by English-born American engineer William Fairburn outlined the view that: "all men are like chemical elements in a well-stocked laboratory, and the manager, foreman, or handler of men, in his daily work, may be considered as the chemist." Fairburn argued that the primary job of the successful handler of people is "a thorough knowledge of the characteristics and temperament of each individual and the reactions resulting from combinations of individuals." In more detail, according to Fairburn, a human chemist is required to:

“Separate systems compounded by old non-scientific methods of management into their constituent human chemical elements, and then with a definite, preconceived plan, compound these individuals, in proper proportions, into an organization, both harmonious and effective for performing the desired functions.”

Teilhard | Human elements
Between 1916 and 1955, French philosopher Pierre Teilhard used a number of phrases to describe the human, such as atom, human molecule, as well as human element. In his 1947 essay “The Formation of the Noosphere”, for instance, Teilhard reasons that in the near future, human mental attachments will generate a ‘a state of active sympathy, in which each separate human element, breaking out of its insulated state under the impulse of the high tensions generated in the noosphere, will emerge into a field of prodigious affinities.’ [2]
Human Element (Dow Corning)
Dow Corning's 2006 "human element" campaign, depicting a person as a symbol on a pseudo-element of a periodic table, the element symbol Hu and atomic number 7E+09 indicative of the 7-billion human population in the 2010s.

Dow Corning | The human element
See main: The Human Element
In June of 2006, Dow Chemical promoted a large magazine and video advertising campaign in which each person is considered as abstract "human element", symbol Hu, atomic mass 8 or 9, number 7E+09 (in reference to population count). [5] The idea was to showcases individual human profiles and circumstances to communicate the power of harnessing “The Human Element” to foster solutions to human problems around the world. [3] The adjacent 2006 video, The "Human Element", one of many 90 to 30 second broadcasts, showcases Dow's commitment to addressing global economic, social and environmental concerns.

The 1994 book The Human Element, by American author Will Schutz, outlines a human element theory of human personality, group dynamics, and relationships. [6] Schutz devises a “Periodic Table of Human Elements” and gives a view of interpersonal workforce relationships, but the theory is largely metaphor and has little connection to chemistry.

1. Fairburn, William Armstrong. (1914). Human Chemistry. The Nation Valley Press, Inc.
2. Teilhard, Pierre de Chardin. (1947). “The Formation of the Noosphere”. (pg. 170-74); from the book The Future of Man, New York: Harper and Row, 1969.
3. (a) Dow Chemical Launches "The Human Element" Campaign, Midland Mi, June 20, 2006.
(b) DOW - Human Element (video clips page),
4. Thims, Libb. (2008). The Human Molecule, (preview). Morrisville, NC: LuLu.
5. Human element (Dow Corning) - Institutue of Human Thermodynamics.
6. Schutz, Will. (1994). The Human Element: Productivity, Self-Esteem, and the Bottom Line (Jossey Bass Business and Management Series). Jossey-Bass.
7. Tweed, Matt. (2003). Essential Elements: Atoms, Quarks, and the Periodic Table. Walker & Co.

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