Gadolinium, a rare earth metal with the symbol Gd, is a metal that has only been discovered fairly recently. While it is not a highly valued metal and has limited importance in biology, it does have some important commercial applications. This article will answer the question who discovered gadolinium and look at six cool facts about gadolinium.
Who Discovered Gadolinium
Gadolinium was only discovered in 1880 by a Swiss chemist called Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac. When analyzing samples of two minerals which contain small amounts of gadolinium, didymium and gadolinite, he discovered spectroscopic lines that were unrecognisable. Every single element has distinctive spectroscopic lines so he knew he had discovered a new element, and called it gadolinium after Finnish chemist Johan Gadolin. Six years later, a French chemist named Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran separated the oxide of gadolinium, gadolinia, from a mineral. The actual element has only been isolated very recently. So now you know who discovered gadolinium. Now let’s look at six interesting facts about gadolinium.
Six Cool Gadolinium Facts
Fact 1: Gadolinium is never found in nature in its elemental form. It is always combined in rare minerals.
Fact 2: Gadolinium compounds are suspected to be slightly toxic, although no extensive investigation has been undertaken.
Fact 3: Gadolinium reacts very slowly in water and it is soluble in dilute acids.
Fact 4: Gadolinium demonstrates what is known as the magnetocaloric effect. This means the temperature of gadolinium raises when it is placed in a magnetic field, and lowers once it is removed from the magnetic field.
Fact 5: Gadolinium compounds are used to make phosphors for color TV tubes. Gadolinium is also used in the manufacture of compact disks and computer memory.
Fact 6: Gadolinium is a component of MRI contrast agents, greatly enhancing the quality of the MRI scan