Yttrium, element 39, is named for the Swedish village of Ytterby where the metal was first found. In 1797, Swedish chemist Anders Gustaf Ekeberg gave the name of yttria to the raw mineral, yttrium oxide.1 Elemental yttrium wasn’t isolated until 1828, but its existence had been predicted and the name yttrium assigned in 1822. From John Imison’s Elements of Science and Art of that year:
The base of yttria has been supposed to be a metallic substance, which would receive the name of yttrium.2
Yttrium has the chemical symbol Y.
Copyright 1997-2013, by David Wilton