Glossary of Scientific Terms

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Tantalus

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was the king of Phrygia and the father of Niobe and Pelops. Punished for testing the gods at a banquet, he is forever trapped in Tartarus. He stands in a pool of water with fruit trees overhead. When he bends down to drink, the water receeds. When he reaches up for the fruit, the branches sway away. Everything remains tantalizingly out of reach.