Before the precious metal palladium was discovered, the word “palladium” referred to objects believed to provide protection and safety (e.g. a talisman, rather than a shield). Most literature fans know the origin of the definition comes from Homer’s Iliad.
According to Greek mythology, the fated city of Troy was home to a wooden carving of divine origin depicting Pallas Athena that had stood since the city’s founding – the Trojan Palladium. In the Iliad, the most memorable scene from the fall of Troy is the Greek Army’s brilliant Trojan horse deception. However, the Greeks’ plan would have been a complete failure while the Palladium still stood. That’s why, prior to the Trojan horse attack, Diomedes and Odysseus sneak into Troy and steal the Palladium. Without the Palladium’s protection, the city is finally vulnerable – a crucial plot point left out of most contemporary re-telling.
In a way, the precious metal palladium is a palladium of the environment. Because of palladium’s unique chemical properties, it’s a crucial component in clean energy, air purification, and other green technologies. As science advances, palladium may end up as one of the most important safeguards for maintaining environmental stability.