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The basic structure of the element phosphorus, symbol P, comprised of 15 protons, 16 neutrons, and 15 electrons.

In chemistry, phosphorus (TR:71) (LH:12) (TL:83), symbol P, the 15th element (Z:15) of the periodic table, is an atom comprised of 15 protons, 16 neutrons, and 15 electrons, with an electron structure: [Ne] 3s2 3p3.


A phosphorus child's play cube.

Phosphorus is classified as an other nonmetal or "reactive nonmetal":[1]


See main: Elemental composition of humans; Thims periodic table

The following is an early estimate of the percent phosphorus in humans:

“The human body contains carbon 13.5%, hydrogen 9.1%, oxygen 72%, nitrogen 2.5%, phosphorus 1.15%, sodium 0.1 %, calcium 1.3%, magnesium 0.001%, iron 0.01%, and traces of silicon and fluorine.”
— Carl Kelsey (1916), The Physical Basis of Society (pg. 7) [2]

Presently, it is known that in humans, phosphorus is the 6th most dominant element, by mass composition (1.1% mass), of the 26-elements in the standard human molecular formula.[3]


The following are related quotes:

“The brain cannot exist without phosphorus-containing fat. The phosphorus is the origin, hence also established activity of the brain — without phosphorus no thought.”
Jacob Moleschott (c.1849), cited by Ludwig Feuerbach (1850) in “The Natural Sciences and the Revolution” (pg. #)[4]
“By degrees it is found that the chemistry of organized substances is not widely separated from, but is rather continuous with, that of earth and stones. Life itself seems to be nothing but a special form of that energy which is manifested in heat and electricity and mechanical force. The time may come, it almost seems, when the tender mechanism of the brain will be traced out, and every thought reduced to the expenditure of a determinate weight of nitrogen and phosphorus.”
Stanley Jevons (1874), The Principles of Science (pgs. 427-28) [5]

End matter

See also


  1. Phosphorus –
  2. Kelsey, Carl. (1916). The Physical Basis of Society (pg. 7). D. Appleton and Company.
  3. Thims, Libb. (2008). The Human Molecule (GB) (Amz) (Iss) (elemental composition table, pgs. 52-55). LuLu.
  4. (a) Feuerbach, Ludwig. (1850). “The Natural Sciences and the Revolution” (“Die Naturwissenschaft und die Revolution”) (German → English). Publisher.
    (b) Feuerbach, Ludwig. (1975). Feuerbach’s Works, Volumes 1-6 (editor: Thies) (vol. 4, pgs. 243-65; quote, pgs. 253-54). Frankfurt.
  5. (a) Jevons, Stanley. (1874). The Principles of Science: a Treatise on Logic and the Scientific Method (§6, §§31: Reflections on the Limits of the Scientific Method, pgs. 427-70; quote, pgs. 427-28).
    (b) Mirowski, Philip. (1989). More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics (pg. 219). Cambridge University Press.

External links

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