In our last article on Beryllium facts that we did back in 2017, we did not mention anything about the discovery of the element. Not just discovery, we actually left out several other Beryllium fun facts that you should learn to supplement your knowledge about this particular element. In this article, we are going to learn those facts. In case you find chemistry to be a boring subject, it is a different matter altogether but we, pretty strongly believe that you will find this particular set of facts interesting! Let us begin…
Beryllium Fun Facts: 1-5 | Etymology & Discovery
1. Beryllium was actually known to ancient worlds but in form of Emerald and Beryl (a gemstone). Even the ancient Egyptians knew about them.
2. The word “Beryllium” had many early precursors in various languages. Some of those precursors in different languages are provided in the table below:
Veḷuriya, Veḷiru, Viḷar
3. As far as the original source of the word “Beryllium” is concerned, it is believed to have originated from a Sanskrit word called “Vaidurya”. This Sanskrit word in turn finds its origin in South Indian language and can be related to Belur – a modern city in India.
4. In 1789, René Haüy of France found that both Emerald and Beryl had similarities when it came to properties and structure despite the fact that two had different colors.
5. This stunning discovery left René Haüy wondering whether the two were made of the same element. To find the answer to this question, René Haüy went to Nicolas Louis Vauquelin, who was a French chemist with specialization in analyzing.
Beryllium Fun Facts: 6-10 | Discovery & Naming
6. Upon analyzing both Beryl and Emerald, Vauquelin made a weird discovery. He found that both the gemstones had a new substance with a sweet taste. The substance that Vauquelin tasted was ‘Beryllia’ (this is the name that is known to us today), which is basically an oxide of Beryllium and is represented by the formula BeO.
7. This discovery led Vauquelin to propose that Beryllia was made up of an element that was previously not discovered. He said that it was an earth metal and eventually ended up naming this unknown metal as ‘Earth of Beryl’.
8. Guess what? People (scientists in specific) have quite a bit of fascination for Greek words. It is this bias that eventually led a different name for the undiscovered element. A new name was adopted and element was called “Glyceynum”. The name was again changed to “Glucina or Glucine”.
9. Wondering where Greek comes into play? Well, those names were adopted because of the sweet taste of the salts of the unknown metal. The Greek word for sweet is ‘Glykis’ and hence the names. In case you didn’t know, here is a bonus fact – the word ‘Glucose’ is also derived for ‘Glykis’.
10. During all this time, the element was actually not discovered and yet, different names were given. The actual discovery eventually took place in year 1828 by two different people independently.