Alexis: At the turn of the century Swedish natural historians were obsessed with cataloging and categorizing nature. Abney: Practicality is absolutely a stereotype of the Swedish character and as a scientific community, they absolutely went very very deep over a very long period of time in, in attacking this question. Lisa: And mineralogists were also obsessed with the idea of chemically analyzing every new rock they found on the ground. So they separated out rare earth elements, and began to organize them. The first rare earth they identified would eventually be named yttrium, the second, cerium. Alexis: Then lanthanum, didymium—which, oops, turned out to be a mixture of praseodymium and neodymium.
by Kerri Jansen |
July 31, 2021