#003, lithium: a primordial element. Like the other group 1 metals it's soft enough to be cut with a knife. Lithium ion batteries power our mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

Element number three in our series of International Year of the Periodic Table graphics, made in partnership with the Royal Society of Chemistry, is lithium.

Lithium is one of only three primordial elements created by the Big Bang (along with hydrogen and helium, who we’ve already met). It’s also the element we have to thank for powering our mobile phones, tablets and laptops, in the form of lithium-ion batteries. So, it’s probably thanks to lithium that you’re reading this!

Like the other group 1 metals, lithium is soft enough to cut with a knife; the metals get softer down the group, the rest of which we’ll meet later in the series.