ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

sulfur-mercury theory of metals

Okay kiddo, so you know how sometimes things can mix together and create something completely different? Like when you mix red and yellow paint together, you get orange paint.

Well, there's a theory about how metals were made that's kind of like that. It's called the sulfur-mercury theory of metals.

Basically, people used to think that metals were made by combining two things called sulfur and mercury. These two things would mix together and create a completely new substance - a metal!

Now, I know you're probably wondering what sulfur and mercury are. Sulfur is a yellowish substance that smells like rotten eggs. Mercury is a liquid metal that's super shiny and silver-colored.

Scientists used to believe that when sulfur and mercury were mixed together, they would give birth to a metal. They thought this because they noticed that metals had similar qualities to sulfur and mercury in some ways.

But as scientists learned more about metals and how they're made, they realized that the sulfur-mercury theory wasn't completely accurate. So while it was an interesting idea at the time, we now know that metals are formed through a variety of different processes.