Phosphorus is a non-metal with the chemical symbol P. It’s atomic number is 15 and it is a very reactive element. But who discovered phosphorus? This post will answer that question and then tell you a few interesting facts about phosphorus.
Who Discovered Phosphorus?
In 1669, phosphorous was discovered by German alchemist Henning Brand. The way he discovered phosphorus is quite disgusting! Henning Brand was experimenting with urine to try and create the ‘philosopher’s stone’. The philosopher’s stone was something capable of turning certain metals (like lead) into gold. While he was conducting his experiments on urine, he isolated a white material that glowed very brightly. What he had done was isolate phosphorous from the urine!
Interesting Facts about Phosphorus
- In 1680, Robert Boyle used phosphorus to ignite wooden sticks with sulfur tips. This became the basis of the modern matchstick.
- Some scientists are predicting that the supply of phosphorus will run out in 50 to 100 years.
- Phosphorus is a component of DNA, RNA and ATP. Therefore, all living cells need phosphorus.
- Pure phosphorus exists in two forms- red phosphorus and white phosphorus. The white form appears to glow due to a reaction taking place with oxygen.
- Phosphorus is created in large stars by the fusing of two oxygen atoms together at extremely high temperatures.
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