Uranium is a silvery-white metal that is weakly radioactive. But who discovered uranium? This post will answer that very question and also look at some interesting facts about uranium.
Who Discovered Uranium?
Before it’s discovery as an element, oxides of uranium were used to add a yellow color to ceramic glazes. This was done as early as 79 AD. In the Middle Ages, pitchblend (an ore which contain two oxides of uranium) was extracted from silver mines and used to color glass.
Martin Heinrich Klaproth is credited with discovering uranium in 1789. He actually isolated an oxide of uranium that he thought was a new element that he called ‘uranium’ (after the planet Uranus). It wasn’t until 1841 that Eugene-Melchior Peligot isolated uranium metal by heating uranium tetrachloride with potassium.
Some Interesting Facts About Uranium
- Hydrochloric acid and nitric acid dissolve uranium.
- Uranium was the fuel used for the first nuclear weapon used in war.
- Uranium is formed naturally from supernovas.
- Uranium is found in hundreds of different minerals and ores throughout the world.
- Plants absorb some uranium from the soil. People consume about 1-2 micrograms of uranium a day from eating plants!
- The top producers of uranium are (in order): Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Niger, Russia and Namibia.
- Australia has 23% of the the world’s uranium ore reserves!
Other Great Discoveries: