yttrium

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.

Other elements named for Ytterby are terbium, erbium, and ytterbium.


1Oxford English Dictionary, yttria, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 25 September 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50290661.

2Oxford English Dictionary, yttrium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 25 September 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50290662

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