Inventor of radioactive dating
It has occasionally been used in official discussions to avoid directly identifying a material whose use is still considered top secret (such as the titanium skin in the project that eventually produced the SR-71 Blackbird).Most people, however, first heard the term as the mineral sought by the mining company in , and mistakenly think that is the Trope Namer.Generally speaking, metals are hard, though a few of the transition metals—as well as members of other metal families—are so soft they can be cut with a knife.Like almost all metals, they tend to have fairly high melting points, and extremely high boiling points.Without it, all your nifty machines and plot-enabling gadgets quit functioning.
In Science Fiction, it will usually take one of three flavors: whatever stuff makes Faster-Than-Light Travel possible, closely followed by the stuff that can mess with gravity (if they're not one and the same), and finally, the stuff they make Humongous Mecha and Alien spacecraft out of, which is why they tend to be effectively immune from earthly weapons or environmental damage.Others are more fantastic "high-grade" unobtainium, such as antimatter, which would be a revolutionary way of storing huge amounts of energy, if it didn't violently conventional matter it comes into contact with, including air molecules and the walls of whatever you're trying to store the damn stuff in.The most common varieties of unobtainium in fiction sit somewhere in the middle, like materials so resistant to heat and/or damage as to be Nigh Invulnerable compared to other, similar substances.Example: Question is "I'm on a river cruise, visiting Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava.
Unobtainium is engineering jargon for, "a material that would be perfect for our purposes, if we could get it, which we can't." Sometimes an object that actually exists, or existed at one time, becomes unobtainium because it's unavailable When used in the realm of fiction, Unobtainium is usually the exotic material that is needed to make the Applied Phlebotinum of a given story work.
For Willing Suspension of Disbelief, authors may pick out something actively being researched within the scientific community at the time of writing and run with it.