Strontium is a highly reactive silvery-white metal that turns yellow when exposed to air. It is a chemical element with the symbol Sr and the atomic number 38. Strontium is relatively common in nature and is the 15% most common element on the planet. It is found naturally in the minerals celestine and strontianite. The most important mineral in terms of strontium production is celestite and the largest producer in the world is China. Let’s find out who discovered this element.
Who discovered strontium?
Strontium was discovered in 1790 by chemists Adair Crawford and William Cruickshank. They were preparing and studying ores from the lead mines near the village of Strontian in Scotland. They noticed that the ores from this area had different properties than were expected and concluded that they had found a “new earth.” Later a pair of German physicians, Friedrich Gabriel Sulzer and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, analysed the same mineral and came to the same conclusion. They named the mineral strontianite. In 1793 a professor of chemistry Thomas Charles Hope also confirmed the work of Crawford and proposed the name strontites after the place it was found. Strontium was first isolated by the famous English chemist Sir Humphry Davy in 1808, which he announced at the Royal Society on June 30, 1808. He changed the name of the element to strontium to fit with the name of other elements that had been discovered.
Did you know?
The first main use of strontium was in the production of sugar from sugar beet.
Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium that is found in radioactive fallout. It has a half life of almost 29 years and is especially dangerous because the body absorbs strontium as if it was calcium. This isotope was found in the bones of children after nuclear weapons testing!