Frank Thone

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In existographies, Frank Thone (64-6 BE) (1891-1949 ACM) (CR:16) (LH:3) (TL:19) was an American plant physiologist, ecologist, and science writer, noted for his introduction of the "CHNOPS+" or CHNOPS-plus, system of defining plants.


Thone's 1936 sketch of a plant is a "CHNOPS, plus" species.

In 1926, Wilhelm Ostwald defined himself as being made from a "C-H-N-O-S-P combination".[1]

In 1936, Thone, in his article “Nature Ramblings: ‘Chnops,’ Plus”, seemingly independent of Ostwald, describes plants and animals, chemically, as “Chnops plus” [CHNOPS+] systems, via employing the following labeled by him visual:

“Chnops: Six chemical elements are essential parts of protoplasm, the living substance itself. These are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulphur. Their initial letters, which happen also to be their chemical symbols, have been arranged into a memory-saver word or mnemonic: CHNOPS — pronounced like the German word for strong liquor, Schnapps. There is a considerable quantity of the first four elements in protoplasm, and only a very little of the other two; but those small amounts are indispensable to life. Take them away, and protoplasm is no longer protoplasm; neither is it any longer alive.”
— Frank Thone (1936), “Nature Ramblins: Chnops, Plus” (pg. #)[2]

Thone, in other words, described solar-powered plants as systems comprised of the elements: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur (CHNOPS) plus potassium and calcium, among others.

In c.2015, Libb Thims, building on Thone, began to define a human, in shorthand, as a CHNOPS+20E species, the letter "E" short for the "plus elements" not shown.


In 1922, Thone completed his dissertation, MS or PhD, entitled “Ecological Factors in Region of Starved Rock, Illinois”. In 1936, Thone was a staff writer for Science News Letters. In 1945, he was a Science Service biology editor and also was involved in radio-based promotions of science, e.g. national science talent searches.

End matter


  1. (a) Ostwald, Wilhelm. (1926-27). Lifelines: an Autobiography (Lebenslinien. Eine Selbstbiographie) (in two or three volumes). Berlin: Klasing & Co.
    (b) Farber, Eduard. (1961). Great Chemists (§:Wilhelm Ostwald, pgs. 1019-30; quote, pg. 1021). Interscience Publishers.
  2. Thone, Frank. (1936). “Nature Ramblings: ‘Chnops,’ Plus”, Science News Letters (CHNOPS, pg. 110; protoplasm, pg. 110), 30(801), Aug 15.


External links

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