Ruthenium, element 44, takes its name from Ruthenia, a Latin name for Russia. German chemist Gottfried Osann discovered the metal in ores from the Ural mountains in 1828 and assigned it that name. Swedish chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius also examined the ores, but found no new metals. It wasn’t until 1845 that Estonian chemist Karl Claus confirmed Osann’s findings and isolated the metal. The name makes its English language appearance in the 1848 edition of George Fownes’s Manual of Elementary Chemistry.1

Ruthenium has the chemical symbol Ru.

1Oxford English Dictionary, ruthenium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 30 September 2009,

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