rhodium

Rhodium, element 45, was discovered in 1803 by British chemist William Wollaston. The name is from the Greek ρόδον, rodon, meaning rose, from the red color of the rhodium precipitate that resulted from Wollaston’s procedure. Wollaston writes in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1804:

I design in the present Memoir to prove the existence [...] of another metal, hitherto unknown, which may not improperly be distinguished by the name of Rhodium, from the rose-colour of a dilute solution of the salts containing it.1

Rhodium currently has the chemical symbol Rh. In the past, it was denoted by Ro.


1Oxford English Dictionary, rhodium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 1 October 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50206055.

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