osmium

Osmium, element 76, was discovered in 1803 by English chemist Smithson Tennant. Tennant named the new element after the Greek όσμή (osme), meaning odor, writing in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1804:

A pungent and peculiar smell [...] This smell [...] arises from the extrication of a very volatile metallic oxide; and, as this smell is one of its most distinguishing characters, I should on that account incline to call the metal Osmium.1

The chemical symbol for osmium is Os.


1Oxford English Dictionary, osmium, 3rd Edition, September 2009, Oxford University Press, accessed 2 November 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/00334489

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