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EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Cobalt close-up

Lindsay, David and Kerr, William (2011) Cobalt close-up. Nature Chemistry, 3. p. 494. ISSN 1755-4330

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Abstract

Compounds of cobalt have proved useful throughout history, and it remains an important element to this day, with applications in chemical synthesis. The name is thought to derive from the German kobold, meaning 'goblin' or 'evil sprite'. The difficulty in isolating cobalt from its ore — and the release of arsenic oxide that often accompanied the smelting process — were both attributed to the work of evil spirits by the miners who were tormented by this element. Undoubtedly, cobalt's relative scarcity also played a part — it makes up only 29 ppm of the earth's crust and is the thirtieth most abundant element on earth; the second rarest transition metal after scandium.