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Unobtainium

 
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I was watching a movie called "The Core", wherein the "ship" that was going to the core of the planet was made from .... you guessed it, UNOBTAINIUM! Now I knew I'd heard of this element here on Permies! So to hear it mentioned on a movie seemed amazing. Who actually came up with the term? Have I been that far out of the loop of current speech and slang?

A Permies search shows the term in many threads, too many to really list. The movie was released in 2003 I think.

As the forum topic says, it's meaningless drivel! Just wanted to share.
 
pollinator
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I know James Cameron's Avatar (2009) there is a scene where they call the mineral they are after unobtainium. I think it is fairly common in sci-fi, maybe it originates from some niche geology or chemistry jargon.
 
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The term started in the aerospace industry in the 1950s and spread into popular use. From Wikipedia:

Unobtainium

Since the late 1950s, aerospace engineers have used the term "unobtainium" when referring to unusual or costly materials, or when theoretically considering a material perfect for their needs in all respects, except that it does not exist. By the 1990s, the term was in wide use, even in formal engineering papers such as "Towards unobtainium [new composite materials for space applications]."


 
Cindy Haskin
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Thank you for the information on this mystery.
 
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