Vanadium, element number 23, is named for Vanadis, another name for the Norse goddess Freya. The name begins appearing in English-language scientific journals in the early 1830s.
The metal was first discovered by Spanish-Mexican mineralogist Andrés Manuel del Río in 1801. Del Río naned the substance erythronium, because the multi-colored compounds formed by the mineral were analogous to the multi-colored flowers of the plant of that name. Del Río, however, became convinced that he had made an error and that the substance he had found was actually chromium and withdrew the claim of discovery.
In 1831, Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefström rediscovered the element, naming it for the Norse goddess of beauty.1
Vanadium has the chemical symbol V, taken from the first letter of its name.
Copyright 1997-2014, by David Wilton