Silicon vs Silicone, For the Last Time

Clip from Guardian Newspaper "Silicone Valley" in headline

To: Editors of The Guardian
Subject: “Europe’s Silicone Valley”
Message: Check your chemistry!

Let’s clear this up once and for all. Computer chips are made of silicon. That’s element number 14 in the periodic table. In everyday life, we typically encounter silicon as sand (silicon dioxide).

Medical implants, especially for a certain part of the female anatomy, are made of silicone. That’s a rubbery substance. It is made of silicon and other chemicals.

Here’s a mnenomic I use to keep these words straight. When I see “silicone”, I note the word “cone” embedded. This reminds me of the shape of said female organ, especially if enhanced with silicone implants!

On the other hand, Silicon Valley is famed for its computer chips, which are flat not cone-shaped.

Attention journalists: Let’s try to get this right from now on, OK?

For the record, the Guardian did fix the headline in its archive, although as of this writing the article URL still reflects the original…

P.S. A millennial woman tells me this article is crass and insensitive, and I should find a different way to get my point across. What do you think?

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