Rubidium is a very soft, and highly reactive, silvery white metal. It is a chemical element with an atomic mass of 85.4678 and is represented by the chemical symbol Rb and the atomic number 37. It is the 23rd most common element in the crust of the Earth, but it is not widely mined because it has limited uses. Due to the fact that rubidium is highly reactive the pure metal must be stored in a dry mineral oil or in a container with an inert atmosphere. Continue reading if you want to know who discovered this abundant element.
Who discovered rubidium?
Rubidium was discovered by German scientists Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff in 1861. A year earlier they have invented a type of spectroscope (spectrometer), which is an instrument used to measure the different properties of light. This can be used to identify the molecular or atomic structure of a substance. It was with this instrument that Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff discovered the element rubidium. They named it after the latin word rubidus, which means dark red, because of the red lines they observed while using the spectroscope.
Did you know?
Bunsen and Kirchhoff used the same technique to discover cesium a year earlier. Since 1990, the Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award is awarded to for outstanding achievement in the field of spectroscopy.
Robert Bunsen is also known as the co-inventor of the Bunsen burner, which is commonly used in laboratories and schools around the world.