Hafnium, element 72, was discovered by Danish physicist Dirk Coster and and Hungarian physicist Georg von Hevesy in 1922. The pair named the element after the city of Copenhagen. Hafnia is a modern Latin name for the city, formed from the Danish havn, or harbor. They wrote in the 20 January 1923 issue of Nature:
For the new element we propose the name Hafnium (Hafniae = Copenhagen).1
Hafnium has the chemical symbol Hf.
In 1911 French chemist Georges Urbain claimed to have discovered element 72, a claim that was later proven wrong. Urbain named his discovery after the Celts. Urbain wrote in the Journal of the Chemical Society in that year:
The name celtium is given to the corresponding element, and the symbol Ct assigned to it.2
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton