The History of the Periodic Table: When Was Each Element Discovered? - Owlcation - Education
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The History of the Periodic Table: When Was Each Element Discovered?

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K S Lane is a student of science and is deeply passionate about educating others on her favourite topics.

Have you ever considered when carbon was first discovered? Have you ever pondered over who it was that discovered polonium? Ever thought about when thallium was first isolated? Well, you’re in luck! This article will satisfy your chemical curiosity by listing all the elements of the modern periodic table, when they were discovered and who they were discovered by. Whether it’s for a school project, an experiment you’re working on or simple for interest, the answers you’re looking for are right here!

This article lists when each of the 118 elements of the periodic table were discovered, along with who first discovered them

This article lists when each of the 118 elements of the periodic table were discovered, along with who first discovered them

Period One:

1. Hydrogen: Discovered in 1776 by Henry Cavendish
2. Helium: Discovered independently in 1895 by Sir William Ramsay, Per Teodor Cleve, and Nils Abraham Langlet.

Helium, which is the second most abundant element in the universe, was discovered in 1895.

Helium, which is the second most abundant element in the universe, was discovered in 1895.

Period Two:

3. Lithium: Discovered in 1817 by Johan Arfvedson
4. Beryllium: Discovered in 1797 by Nicholas Louis Vauquelin
5. Boron: Discovered in 1808 by Louis-Joesf Gay-Lussac and Louis-Jacques Thenard
6. Carbon: Carbon was first discovered by prehistoric humans, likely in its amorphous form (charcoal)
7. Nitrogen: Discovered in 1772 by Daniel Rutherford
8. Oxygen: Discovered independently in 1774 by Joseph Priestly and Carl Wilhelm Scheele
9. Fluorine: Discovered in 1886 by Henri Moissan
10. Neon: Discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers

Periodic Table Chart:

Period Three:

11. Sodium: Discovered in 1807 by Humphry Davy
12. Magnesium: Discovered in 1755 by Joseph Black
13. Aluminium: Discovered in 1825 by Hans Oersted
14. Silicon: Discovered in 1824 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius
15. Phosphorus: Discovered in 1669 by Hennig Brandt
16. Sulfur: Sulfur was discovered by prehistoric humans, likely as a component of other minerals
17. Chlorine: Discovered in 1774 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele
18. Argon: Discovered in 1894 by Lord Rayleigh and Sir William Ramsay

Argon, which glows purple when used in a specialised lamp, was discovered in 1894.

Argon, which glows purple when used in a specialised lamp, was discovered in 1894.

Period Four:

19. Potassium: Discovered in 1807 by Humphry Davy
20. Calcium: Discovered in 1808 by Humphry Davy
21. Scandium: Discovered in 1879 by Lars Frederik Nelson
22. Titanium: Discovered in 1791 by William Gregor
23. Vanadium: Discovered in 1801 by Andrés Manuel del Rio
24. Chromium: Discovered in 1798 by Nicholas Louis Vauquelin
25. Manganese: Discovered in 1774 by Johan Gottlieb Gahn
26. Iron: Iron was discovered by prehistoric humans. The year is estimated to be approximately 3500BC
27. Cobalt: Discovered in 1739 by George Brandt
28. Nickel: Discovered in 1751 by Axel Fredrick Cronstedt
29. Copper: Copper was discovered by prehistoric humans
30. Zinc: Identified as an element in 1746 by Andreas Marggraf, but known to prehistoric humans
31. Gallium: Discovered in 1875 by Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
32. Germanium: Discovered in 1886 by Clemens Winkler
33. Arsenic: Discovered in approximately 1250 by Albertus Magnus
34. Selenium: Discovered in 1817 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius
35. Bromine: Discovered independently in 1826 by Antoine-Jérome Balard and Carl Löwig
36. Krypton: Discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers

Period Five:

37. Rubidium: Discovered in 1861 by Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen
38. Strontium: Discovered in 1790 by Adair Crawford
39. Yttrium: Discovered in 1794 by Johan Gadolin
40. Zirconium: Discovered in 1789 by Martin Heinrich Klaproth
41. Niobium: Discovered in 1801 by Charles Hatchett
42. Molybdenum: Discovered in 1781 by Peter Jacob Helm
43. Technetium: Discovered in 1937 by Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segré
44. Ruthenium: Discovered in 1844 by Karl Karlovich Klaus
45. Rhodium: Discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston
46. Palladium: Discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston
47. Silver: Silver was discovered by prehistoric humans in approximately 3000BC
48. Cadmium: Discovered in 1817 by Friedrich Stromeyer
49. Indium: Discovered in 1863 by Ferdinand Reich and Hieronymous Richter
50. Tin: Tin was discovered by prehistoric humans in approximately 2100BC
51. Antimony: Antimony was discovered by prehistoric humans in approximately 1600BC
52. Tellurium: Discovered in 1783 by Franz-Joseph Müller von Reichenstein
53. Iodine: Discovered in 1811 by Bernard Courtois
54. Xenon: Discovered in 1898 by Sir William Ramsay and Morris Travers

Iodine, which is a halogen, was discovered in 1811.

Iodine, which is a halogen, was discovered in 1811.

Period Six:

55. Caesium: Discovered in 1860 by Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen
56. Barium: Discovered in 1808 by Humphry Davy
57-71: LANTHANIDES
72. Hafnium: Discovered in 1923 by George Charles de Hevesy and Dirk Coster
73. Tantalum: Discovered in 1802 by Anders Gustav Ekeberg
74. Tungsten: Discovered in 1783 by Juan and Fausto Elhuyar
75. Rhenium: Discovered in 1925 by Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke and Otto Berg
76. Osmium: Discovered in 1803 by Smithson Tennent
77. Iridium: Discovered in 1803 by Smithson Tennant
78. Platinum: Discovered by native South Americans before it was taken to Europe by Columbus in 1750
79. Gold: Discovered by prehistoric humans in approximately 3000BC
80. Mercury: Discovered by prehistoric humans in approximately 1500BC
81. Thallium: Discovered in 1861 by William Crookes
82. Lead: Discovered by prehistoric humans in an unknown year
83. Bismuth: Discovered in approximately 1500 by Claude François Geoffroy
84. Polonium: Discovered in 1898 by Marie Curie
85. Astatine: Discovered in 1904 by Dale R. Corson, Kenneth Ross MacKenzie and Emilio Segré
86. Radon: Discovered in 1900 by Friedrich Ernst Dorn

Lanthanides:

57. Lanthanum: Discovered in 1839 by Carl Gustav Mosander
58. Cerium: Discovered in 1803 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius and Wilhelm Hisinger
59. Praseodymium: Discovered in 1885 by Carl Auer von Welsbach
60. Neodymium: Discovered in 1885 by Carl Auer von Welsbach
61. Promethium: Discovered in 1945 by Jacob Marinsky, Lawrence Glendenin and Charles Coryell
62. Samarium: Discovered in 1879 by Paul-Émilie Lecoq de Boisbaudran
63. Europium: Discovered in 1901 by Eugéne-Anatole Demarçay
64. Gadolinium: Discovered in 1880 by Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
65. Terbium: Discovered in 1843 by Carl Gustav Mosander
66. Dysprosium: Discovered in 1886 by Paul-Émilie Lecoq de Boisbaudran
67. Holmium: Discovered independently n 1878 by Per Teodor Cleve, Marc Delafontaine and Louis Soret
68. Erbium: Discovered in 1843 by Carl Gustav Mosander
69. Thulium: Discovered in 1879 by Per Teodro Cleve
70. Ytterbium: Discovered in 1878 by Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac
71. Lutetium: Discovered independently in 1907 by Georges Urbain and Charles James

Ytterbium, which was named after the Swedish town of Ytterby, was discovered in 1878.

Ytterbium, which was named after the Swedish town of Ytterby, was discovered in 1878.

Period Seven:

87. Francium: Discovered in 1939 by Marguerite Perey
88. Radium: Discovered in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie
89-102. ACTINIDES
104. Rutherfordium: Discovered independently in 1964 by George Flerov and colleagues and Albert Ghiorso and colleagues.
105. Dubnium: Discovered independently in 1968-1970 by George Flerov and colleagues and Albert Ghiorso and colleagues.
106. Seaborgium: Discovered in 1974 by Albert Ghiorso and colleagues
107. Bohrium: Discovered in 1981 by Peter Armbruster, Gottfried Münzenberg and colleagues
108. Hassium: Discovered in 1984 by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg
109. Meitnerium: Discovered in 1982 by Peter Armbruster, Gottfriend Münzenberg, and colleagues
110. Darmstadium: Discovered in 1994 by Sigurd Hofmann, Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg
111. Roentgenium: Discovered in 1994 by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg
112. Copernicium: Discovered in 1996 by Sigurd Hofmann and colleagues
113. Nihonium: Discovered in 2004 by scientists from the Japanese Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN)
114. Flerovium: Discovered in 1999 by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
115. Moscovium: Discovered in 2003 by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory
116. Livermorium: Discovered in 200 by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
117. Tennessine: Discovered in 2009 by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory
118. Oganesson: Discovered in 2006 by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Actinides:

89. Actinium: Discovered in 1899 by Andrew Debierne
90. Thorium: Discovered in 1829 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius
91. Protactinium: Discovered in 1913 by Kasimir Fajans and Otto Göhring
92. Uranium: Discovered in 1789 by Martin Heinrich Klaproth
93. Neptunium: Discovered in 1940 by Edwin McMillan and Phillip Abelson
94. Plutonium: Discovered in 1940 by Glenn Seaborg and colleagues
95. Americium: Discovered in 1944 by Glenn Seaborg and colleagues
96. Curium: Discovered in 1944 by Glenn Seaborg and colleagues
97. Berkelium: Discovered in 1949 by Stanley Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn Seaborg
98. Californium: Discovered in 1950 by Stanley Thompson, Kenneth Street Jr., Albert Ghiorso and Glenn Seaborg
99. Einsteinium: Discovered in 1952 by Albert Ghiorso and colleagues
100. Fermium: Discovered in 1953 by Albert Ghirso and colleagues
101. Mendelevium: Discovered in 1955 by Albert Ghiorso and colleagues
102. Nobelium: Discovered independently in 1963 by George Flerov and colleagues and Albert Ghiorso and colleagues
103. Lawrencium: Discovered independently in 1965 by George Flerov and colleagues and Albert Ghiorso and colleagues

In Conclusion:

And there we have it; 118 unique elements, the years they were discovered, and the scientists who first isolated them. I hope that this list has satisfied your curiosity!

Sources and Further Reading:

  • http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/elements/features/2010/blogging_the_periodic_table/ytterby_the_tiny_swedish_island_that_gave_the_periodic_table_four_different_elements.html
  • https://www.worldofchemicals.com/338/chemistry-articles/albert-ghiorso-co-discoverer-of-12-periodic-elements.html
  • https://www.chemicool.com/elements/tennessine.html
  • https://www.livescience.com/41424-facts-about-ununpentium.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_chemical_element_discoveries
  • https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=10266
  • http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table
  • https://hobart.k12.in.us/ksms/PeriodicTable/sulfur.htm
  • https://www.ptable.com/

© 2018 K S Lane

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