helium

Helium, with atomic number 2, is the second lightest element. It naturally occurs as an inert gas. Its existence was inferred from spectra of the sun in 1868 by English astronomer Norman Lockyer. Lockyer and chemist Edward Frankland named the alleged element helium, after the Greek helios, meaning the sun, and the standard elemental ending -um. The element was not actually isolated in the laboratory until 1895, by British chemist William Ramsay.

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