Lanthanum, element 57, was discovered in 1839 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustav Mosander. The name comes from the Greek λανθάνείν (lanthanein), meaning to escape notice, to lie hidden. From William Brande’s 1841 edition of his Manual of Chemistry:
Another metallic oxide, which, as it has hitherto lain concealed in oxide of cerium, he designates Lantanum (λανθάνείν, to lurk).1
Lanthanum has the chemical symbol La.
Copyright 1997-2014, by David Wilton