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History of the Elements of the Periodic Table

Atomic Number (z) Name Symbol Year Discovered Discoverer Derivation of Name/Symbol
1 hydrogen H 1766 Henry Cavendish From the Greek hydro for 'water' and genes for 'forming' as it burned in air to form water.

2 helium He 1868 Pierre-Jules-Cesar Janssen From the Greek helios for 'sun'. It was discovered by spectroscopy during a solar eclipse in the sun's chromosphere.

3 lithium Li 1818 Johan August Arfvedson From the Latin lithos for 'stone' because lithium was thought to exist only in minerals as it was first found in the mineral petalite.

4 beryllium Be 1798 Nicholas-Louis Vauquelin From the Greek berryllos for 'beryl' the gemstone in which it was first found.

5 boron B 1808 (isolated) Humphry Davy From the Arabic buraq for 'white'. It was first isolated in an impure state by Louis-Joseph Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thenard, but it was Humphry Davy who first prepared pure boron using electrolysis.

6 carbon C - known since ancient times From the Latin carbo for 'charcoal'. In 1797, Smithson Tennant showed that diamond is pure carbon.

7 nitrogen N 1772 Daniel Rutherford From the Latin nitrium and Greek nitron for 'native soda' and genes for 'forming' because it is found in potassium nitrate, saltpeter or nitre or native soda.

8 oxygen O 1774 Joseph Priestly >From the Greek oxys for 'acid' and genes for 'forming' since Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier originally thought that oxygen was an acid producer because when he burnt phosphorus and sulfur and dissolved them in water they produced acids.

9 fluorine F 1886 (isolated) Ferdinand Frederic, Henri Moissan From the Latin fluere for 'flow or flux' as the mineral fluorspar was used as a flux in metallurgy because of its low melting point

10 neon Ne 1898 Sir William Ramsay, Morris M. Travers From the Greek neos for 'new'

11 sodium Na 1807 Sir Humphry Davy From the English soda and Latin sodanum for 'headache remedy'. The chemical symbol derives from the Latin natrium for soda.

12 magnesium Mg 1808 (separation from mineral) Sir Humphry Davy From Magnesia a district in Thessalia in northeastern Greece

13 aluminium Al 1825 (isolated) Hans Christian Oersted From the Latin alum and alumen for 'stringent' since the early Romans called any substance with a stringent taste alum.

14 silicon Si 1924 Jons Jacob Berzelius From the Latin silex and silicis for 'flint'. Originally it was thought to be a metal and called silicium, when this was shown to be wrong the name was changed to silicon.

15 phosphorus P 1669 Hennig Brand From the Greek phosphorus for 'bringing light' as white phosphorus oxidises spontaneously in air and glows in the dark

16 sulfur/sulphur S - known since ancient times From Latin sulfurium and the Sanskrit sulveri. Sulfur was known as brenne stone, combustible stone, from which brim-stone is derived

17 chlorine Cl 1774 Carl Wilhelm Scheele From the Greek chloros for 'pale green', the colour of the element.

18 argon Ar 1894 Sir William Ramsay, Lord Raleigh From the Greek argos for 'lazy' because it does not combine with other elements.

19 potassium K 1807 (isolated) Sir Humphry Davy From the English potash as it was found in caustic potash (KOH). The chemical symbol derives from the Latin kalium via the Arabic qali for alkali

20 calcium Ca 1808 (isolated) Sir Humphry Davy From the Latin calx for 'lime or limestone' in which it is found.

21 scandium Sc 1879 Lars Fredrik Nilson From the Latin scandia for Scandanavia where the mineral was found

22 titanium Ti 1791 The Reverend William Gregor From the Latin titans, mythological first sons of the earth

23 vanadium V 1801/1830 Andres Manuel del Rio y Fernandez/Nils Gabriel Sefstrom From the Scandanavian Freyja Vanadis, goddess of love and beauty, because of its many beautiful coloured compounds

24 chromium Cr 1797 Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin From the Greek chroma for 'colour' as there are many coloured compounds of chromium

25 manganese Mn 1774 (isolated) Johan Gottlieb Gahn From the Latin magnes for 'magnet' since the mineral pyrolusite (MnO2) has magnetic properties

26 iron Fe - known since ancient times From the Anglo Saxon iron. The symbol is derived form the Latin ferrum for 'firmness'

27 cobalt Co 1739 Georg Brandt From the German kobold for 'evil spirits' who were thought to cause miners problems since the mineral contained arsenic which was detrimental to their health.

28 nickel Ni 1751 Axel Fredrik Cronstedt From the German nickel for 'deceptive spirit' as miners called the mineral niccolite kupfernickel (false copper) as it resembled copper ores in appearance but no copper was found in the ore.

29 copper Cu - known since ancient times From the Latin cuprum for 'Cyprus' where the Romans first obtained copper

30 zinc Zn - known since ancient times From the German zink

31 gallium Ga 1875 Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran From the Latin gallia for France, or possibly from the Latin gallus for 'le coq or cock' after its Fench discoverer. Predicted by Mendeleev who called it eka-aluminium.

32 germanium Ge 1886 Clemens Winkler From the Latin germania for Germany after its German discoverer. Predicted by Mendeleev who called it eka-silicon.

33 arsenic As - known since ancient times From the Latin arsenicum and the Greek arsenikos for the yellow arsenic ore, sounds similar to the Greek arsenikon for 'male or potent' possibly referring to its toxicity.

34 selenium Se 1817 Jons Jacob Berzelius From the Greek Selene, goddess of the moon, because the element is found with tellurium (named after Tellus, Roman goddess of the earth)

35 bromine Br 1826 Antoine-Jerome Balard From the Greek bromos for 'stench'

36 krypton Kr 1898 Sir William Ramsay, Morris M. Travers From the Greek kryptos for 'hidden'

37 rubidium Rb 1861 Robert Bunsen, Gustav Kirchoff From the Latin rubidus for deepest red because of the two deep red lines in its spectrum

38 strontium Sr 1792 Thomas Charles Hope From Strontian a town in Scotland where the mineral strontianite is found

39 yttrium Y 1794 Johan Gadolin From the Swedish village of Ytterby where the mineral gadolinite (ytterbite) was found

40 zirconium Zr 1789 Martin Heinrich Klaproth From the Arabic zargun for 'gold-like'

41 niobium Nb 1801 Charles Hatchett From the Greek Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, since the elements niobium and tantalum were originally thought to be identical elements

42 molybdenum Mo 1778 Carl Welhelm Scheele From the Greek molybdos for 'lead' as the ancient Greeks used this term for any black mineral which left a mark

43 technetium Tc 1937 (synthesised) Carlo Perrier, Emilio Segre From the Greek technetos for 'artificial'.

44 ruthenium Ru 1844 (isolated) Karl Karlovich Klaus From the latin ruthenia, the old name for Russia

45 rhodium Rh 1803 William Hyde Wollaston From the Greek rhodon for rose because of the rose coloured solutions of its salts

46 palladium Pd 1803 William Hyde Wollaston From the second largets asteroid of the Solar System, Pallus, named after the goddess of wisdom and arts, Pallas Athene, as the element was discovered 1 year after the discovery of the asteroid.

47 silver Ag - known since ancient times From the Anglo-Saxon seofor and siolfur. The chemical symbol derives from the Latin argentum and Sanskrit argunas for 'bright'

48 cadmium Cd 1817 Friedrich Strohmeyer From the Greek kadmeia for 'calamine, zinc carbonate' as it was found as an impurity with zinc carbonate in nature

49 indium In 1863 Ferdinand Reich, Hieronymus Theodor Richter From indigo for the indigo-blue line in the element's spectrum

50 tin Sn - known since ancient times From the Anglo-Saxon tin. The chemical symbol is derived from the Latn stannum for alloys containing lead

51 antimony Sb - known since ancient times From the Greek anti and monos for 'not alone' because it was found in many compounds. The symbol Sb comes from the original name, stibium.

52 tellurium Te 1782 Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein From the Latin Tellus, Roman goddess of the earth

53 iodine I 1811 Barnard Courtois From the Greek ioeides for 'violet coloured' because of its violet vapours

54 xenon Xe 1898 Sir William Ramsay, Morris M. Travers From the Greek xenon for 'stranger'

55 cesium/caesium Cs 1860 Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Gustav Robert Kirchoff From the Latin caesius for 'sky blue colour' which was the colour of the caesium line in the spectroscope.

56 barium Ba 1808 (isolated) Sir Humphry Davy From the Greek barys for 'heavy' as it was found in the mineral heavy spar.

57 lanthanum La 1839 Carl Gustaf Mosander From the Greek lanthanein 'to escape notice' because it hid in cerium ore and was difficult to separate out

58 cerium Ce 1803 Jons Jacob Berzelius, Wilhelm von Hisinger, Martin Heinrich Klaproth From the planetoid Ceres which was named after the Roman goddess of agriculture.

59 praseodymium Pr 1885 Carl F. Auer von Welsbach From the Greek prasios for 'green' and didymos for 'twin' because of the pale green salts it forms. Carl F. Auer von Welsbach separated praseodymium and neodymium from a didymium sample.

60 neodymium Nd 1885 (isolated from mineral) Carl F. Auer von Welsbach From the Greek neos for 'new' and 'didymos' for twin after Carl Auer von Welsbach separated didymium into new elements, one of which he called neodymium

61 promethium Pm 1944 (synthesised) Jacob A. Marinsky, Lawrence E. Glendenin, Charles D. Coryell From Prometheus who stole fire from heaven and gave it to the human race, since it was found by harnessing nuclear energy which is also a threat

62 samarium Sm 1878 Marc Delafontaine From the mineral Samarskite in which it is found and which was named after Colonel von Samarski, a Russian mine official

63 europium Eu 1896 (separation from mineral) Eugene-Antole Demarcay From the continent Europe. Demarcay isolated europium in 1901

64 gadolinium Gd 1880 Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac From the mineral gadolinite in which it is found and which was named after Johan Gadolin

65 terbium Tb 1843 Carl Gustaf Mosander From the village of Ytterby in Sweden where the mineral ytterbite was first found

66 dysprosium Dy 1886 Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran From the Greek dysprositos for 'hard to get at' because it is difficult to separate dysprosium from the holmium mineral in which it is found

67 holmium Ho 1879 Per Theodor Cleve From the Latin holmia for Stockholm, or possibly after Holmberg who first isolated it.

68 erbium Er 1843 Carl Gustaf Mosander From the Swedish town of Ytterby where the ore gadolinite was first mined.

69 thulium Tm 1879 Per Theodor Cleve From Thule, the earliest name for Scandanavia

70 ytterbium Yb 1878 Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac From the Swedish village of Ytterby where the mineral ytterbite was found

71 lutetium Lu 1907 Georges Urbain From the Latin lutetia the Latin name for the city of Paris

72 hafnium Hf 1923 Dirk Coster, Charles de Hevesy From the Latin hafnia for Copenhagen where it was first discovered.

73 tantalum Ta 1802 Anders Gustaf Ekeberg From the Greek tantalos, the mythological character who was banished to Hades unable to eat or drink, because the element was insoluble in acids.

74 tungsten W 1783 (isolated) Don Juan Jose and Don Fausto d'Elhuyar From the Swedish tung sten for 'heavy stone'. The chemical symbol is derived from the German wolfram which was found with tin and interferred with the smelting of tin, it was said to eat up tin like a wolf eats up sheep

75 rhenium Re 1925 Ida Tacke-Noddack, Walter Noddack, Otto Carl Berg From the Latin rhenus for the Rhine Ralley in Germany

76 osmium Os 1803 Smithson Tennant From the Greek some for 'smell' because of the sharp odour of the volatile oxide

77 iridium Ir 1803 Smithson Tennant From the Latin Iris, the Greek goddess of rainbows because of the variety of colours in the element's salt solutions

78 platinum Pt 1735 Antonio de Ulloa From the Spanish platina for 'silver'

79 gold Au - known since ancient times From the Sanskrit jval 'to shine'. The symbol Au derives from the Latin aurum for Aurora the Roman goddess of the dawn.

80 mercury Hg - known since ancient times From the Roman god Mercury, the messenger of the gods. The symbol derives from the Greek hydragyrium for 'liquid silver' or quick silver

81 thallium Tl 1861 Sir William Crookes From the Greek thallos for 'green shoot' because of the bright green lines in its spectrum

82 lead Pb - known since ancient times From Anglo Saxon lead. The symbol is derived from the Latin plumbum for 'lead'

83 bismuth Bi 1753 Claude-Francois Geoffroy the Younger From the German weisse masse for 'white mass', the colour of its oxides

84 polonium Po 1898 Pierre and Marie Curie From Poland, the native country of Marie Sklodowska Curie

85 astatine At 1940 (synthesised) Dale R. Carson, K.R. MacKenzie, Emilio Segre From the Greek astatos for 'unstable' as it is an unstable element.

86 radon Rn 1900 Friedrich Ernst Dorn Originally called radium emanation, Em, because it was a decay product of radium. The name radon reflects its origin from radium

87 francium Fr 1939 Marguerite Catherine Perey From France the country in which it was first discovered

88 radium Ra 1898 Marie Sklodowska Curie, Pierre Curie From the Latin radius for 'beam or ray' because of its ray-emitting power

89 actinium Ac 1899 Andre-Louis Debierne From the Greek aktis or akinis for 'beam or ray' because it is a good source of alpha radiation

90 thorium Th 1828 Jons Jacob Berzelius From Thor, Scandanavian god of thunder

91 protactinium Pa 1913 Kasimir Fajans, O.H. Gohring From the Greek protos for 'first' and actinium, since it was found to be the parent of actinium

92 uranium U 1789 Martin Heinrich Klaproth From the planet Uranus named after the Roman 'Father Heaven', Uranus was discovered in 1781.

93 neptunium Np 1940 (synthesised) Edwin M. McMillan, Philip H. Abelson From Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, since it is the next outermost planet beyond Uranus in the Solar System and this element is the next one beyond Uranium in the Periodic Table

94 plutonium Pu 1941 (synthesised) Glenn T. Seaborg, Joseph W. Kennedy, Edward M. McMillan, Arthur C. Wohl From the planet Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld, as Pluto is the next planet in the Solar System beyond Neptune and the element plutonium is the next element beyond neptunium

95 americium Am 1944 (synthesised) Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, Leon O. Morgan, Albert Ghiorso From the analogy to europium the sixth element in the lanthanide series since americium is the sixth element in the actinide series.

96 curium Cm 1944 (synthesised) Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, Albert Ghiorso From 'Pierre and Marie Curie' who discovered radium and polonium

97 berkelium Bk 1949 (synthesised) Glenn T. Seaborg, Stanley G. Thompson, Albert Ghiorso From Berkeley, California, where it was first synthesised

98 californium Cf 1950 (synthesised) Stanley G. Thompson, Glenn T. Seaborg, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso From the state and university of California where the element was first synthesised.

99 einsteinium Es 1952 (synthesised) Albert Ghiorso From 'Albert Einstein'. Eisteinium-252 first found in the debris of thermonuclear weapons

100 fermium Fm 1952 (synthesised) Albert Ghiorso From Enrico Fermi, the physicist who built the first nuclear reactor. First found in the debris of a thermonuclear weapon explosion

101 mendelevium Md 1955 (synthesised) Stanley G. Thompson, Glenn T. Seaborg, Barnard G. Harvey, Gregory R. Choppin, Albert Ghiorso From Dimitri Mendeleev who developed the Periodic Table of the Elements. Original chemical symbol was My but was changed in 1955.

102 nobelium No 1958 (synthesised) Albert Ghiorso, Glenn T. Seaborg, Torbjorn Sikkeland, John R. Walton From Alfred Nobel the discoverer of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prize

103 lawrencium Lr 1961 (synthesised) Albert Ghiorso, Torbjorn Sikkeland, Almon E. Larsh, Robert M. Latimer From Ernest O. Lawrence who developed the cyclotron. The original symbol was Lw but was changed

104 rutherfordium RE 1964/1969 (synthesised) Russian Scientists at Dubna/Albert Ghiorso From Ernest Rutherford who developed a theory of radioactive transformations

105 dubnium Db 1967/1970 (synthesised) Russian Scientists in Dubna/Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory From the location of the Russian research centre in Dubna

106 seaborgium Sg 1974 (synthesised) Albert Ghiorso From Glenn Theodore Seaborg who led the team that first synthesised a number of transuranic elements

107 bohrium Bh 1981 (synthesised) Centre for Heavy-Ion Research , Germany From Neils Bohr who developed a theory of the electronic structure of the atom

108 hassium Hs 1984 (synthesised) Peter Armbruster, Gottfried Munzenber From the Latin hassia for the German state of Hesse whose former capital was Darmstadt where the element was first synthesised

109 meitnerium Mt 1980 (synthesised) Peter Armbruster, Gottfried Munzenber From Lise Meitner who discovered protactinium

110 darmstadtium Ds 1994 (synthesised) Peter Armbruster, Gottfried Munzenber From Darmstadt the region where the research centre is located

111 roentgenium Rg 1994 (synthesised) multinational team of scientists at the Heavy Ion Research Centre, Darmstadt, Germany From Roentgen, discoverer of X-rays

112 copernicium Cn 1996 (synthesised) multinational team of scientists at the Heavy Ion Research Centre, Darmstadt, Germany name proposed in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, after Nicolaus Copernicus who postulated that the Earth orbits the Sun

114 flerovium Fl 1998 (synthesised) multinational team of scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia

116 livermorium Lv 2000 (synthesised) multinational team of scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, Russia
 


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