Bismuth is a silvery-white brittle metal that often has a pink tinge after exposure to air. It is one of the elements that can be found in its natural state (free form) on Earth. it is a chemical element represented by the symbol Bi and the atomic number 83. It is mostly mined from ores, but native bismuth is also found in commercial quantities in a few countries. Bismuth is similar to lead and tin, which caused confusion about the identity of this element throughout history. Let’s find out the first to identify this element.
Who discovered bismuth?
Because bismuth is found in its natural form it has been known since ancient times and was one of the first 10 metals ever discovered. However, it was often confused with lead and tin because it has a similar appearance. This means that no one knows who first discovered this element.
One of the first to identify bismuth as a separate element was German scientist Georgius Agricola in a scientific text known as De Natura Fossilium published in 1546. However, it wasn’t until the 17th century that this was first proven. Johann Heinrich Pott, Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Torbern Olof Bergman are all credited with working to show that bismuth was a distinct element. The proof came in 1753 when Claude François Geoffroy proved for the first time that bismuth was a separate element from tin and lead. Today, Claude François Geoffroy is even sometimes credited with the official discovery of the element.
Did you know?
The Incas used bismuth, together with copper and tin, to create a unique bronze alloy that they used to construct knives.
Bismuth only has a small number of applications, but because it is far less toxic than lead it is being used to replace lead in a number of applications.