In Star Trek TOS episode Balance of Terror, Mr. Spock says that Castrodinium is "the hardest substance known to our science." Could it be that it was named after Fidel Castro?

  • Interestingly the Star Trek author Peter David also calls it castrodinium; "It would sever castrodinium at the molecular level. An anti-proton beam, at full strength, would not be slowed by our shields at all.” - Star Trek : Vendetta, Pg. 173 – Valorum Jul 26 '14 at 19:35
  • The reference in Balance of Terror is about Rodinium, I'm sure of it now. But you are right, there is a reference about "castrodinium" in Vendetta. I just looked it up. It's perhaps a typo? Vendetta was of course a later work, a Next Generation tie-in novel. It's interesting how things evolve sometimes. – Samir Jul 26 '14 at 20:01
  • It's a typo that can be found in all of his books. I'm wondering if it's some sort of in-joke. – Valorum Jul 26 '14 at 20:10
  • Actually, Spock called it CASTRATINIUM. It was called "castrate"-"inium" because the radiation it emits caused its original founder's testicles to fall off. – Omegacron May 12 '15 at 17:16
  • Castra? Female version of Castro? Fidelina Castratinium? – Samir May 12 '15 at 23:19

The actual quote is shown below. As you can see, it's not one word ('castrodinium'), it's actually two words ('cast rodinium'), referring to the fictional transuranic element rodinium.

The 'casting' process presumably refers to the method used to make the element into a usable shape.

SPOCK: From the outpost's protective shield. Cast rodinium.
This is the hardest substance known to our science.

(He crushes it with his hand)

The Starfleet Medical Reference Manual offers the following information about the substance but no particular indication of why the name was chosen:

enter image description here

If I had to make a complete guess, I'd say that Roddenberry had decided to name an element after himself.

| improve this answer | |
  • Silly me! :) No wonder I got so few Google search results. To think that Castro was hard as Rodinium... Thanks for the clarification! – Samir Jul 26 '14 at 19:34
  • 1
    Your Roddenberry naming hypothesis sounds plausible. – Samir Jul 26 '14 at 20:05
  • @sammyg - I'm not very happy with it. It's too speculative for my tastes. I'm going to sleep on it and decide whether to remove it. – Valorum Jul 26 '14 at 20:30
  • Richard - I have suggested some other possible sources for Rodinium. – M. A. Golding May 3 '15 at 4:35

Of course it is perfectly possible that Extraterrestrials often have names starting with Rhod or Rod and Rodinium might have been named after one of them.

| improve this answer | |
  • Are there any extraterrestrials called rod - something in the show? – Valorum May 10 '15 at 8:21
  • Rodek?... son of Noggra? – Samir May 10 '15 at 19:33
  • Richard - is there a complete and cononical list of all the famous and outstanding members of the species of the copper skinned short people seen in "Journey to Bable"? No, their species and home planet and realm are not even named in any canonical source. – M. A. Golding May 12 '15 at 4:23

Even if cast Rodinium was Castrodinium, Cuban dictator (in)Fidel castro was hardly the first or last person to use that surname.

For example, Wikipedia has a long list of persons named Castro:


And of course Rodinium could have been named after someone with the surname Rhodes


or Roddy


I can add rebel general Phillip Roddy to that list


or Rodney:


Or other surnames starting with Rhod or Rod.

There is the surname Rodin, - famed French Sculptor Auguste Rodin 1840-1917.


And Roden


And famous science fiction character Perry Rhodan


And Japanese movie monster Rodan


| improve this answer | |
  • Is there any special reason to assume that the cast/crew of Star Trek would want to honour any of the people listed in your links? – Valorum May 3 '15 at 6:26
  • Richard - the people in my links are evidence of the fregency of famous people with those surnames. In the future famous people with those surnames and other surnames starting with Rhod or Rod might occur approximately as often and one of them might have been honored by having Rodinium named after him. – M. A. Golding May 10 '15 at 5:19
  • Richard - I added more surnames to my list 05/10/15. – M. A. Golding May 10 '15 at 5:35
  • Again, is there any reason to think that why the cast/crew would wish to honour any of these people? If not, you're just flogging the same dead horse. – Valorum May 10 '15 at 8:18
  • Castrodinium was named after Fidel Castro and you know it! ;) – Samir May 10 '15 at 19:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.