Since ancient times, some elements like carbon, copper, silver, gold, iron, mercury, lead, and tin was known to Indians, Egyptians, Romans, Chinese and Greeks as people used to use these elements already. Among these, the first element to be discovered is considered to be copper. In ancient times, charcoal was widely used in the day-to-day lives of people and it was used to reduce zinc, copper, and tin from their respective ores.
After ancient age, came the time of Alchemists i.e., from 1 A.D. to 1735. Magnus discovered arsenic in 1250. Nicolas LÃ©mery discovered antimony in 1707. Henning Brand, a German scientist discovered phosphorus in 1669. Naturally occurring phosphorus exists as P4 in two forms: red and white phosphorus. White phosphorus is toxic while red phosphorus is used in safety matchsticks.
Modern age discoveries
Andreas Marggraf, a German chemist discovered zinc in 1746. Georg Brandt discovered cobalt in 1735. In 1735, Antonio de Ulloa discovered platinum in South America. In 1751, Axel Fredrik Cronstedt discovered nickel in Sweden while extract copper from a mineral named fake copper which is now called niccolite. Hydrogen was the elemental gas to be discovered and was discovered by Cavendish in 1766 by his observation that some gas is evolved on the reaction of metal with acids. Nitrogen was discovered by Rutherford in 1772. Oxygen was discovered by Priestley and Scheele in 1774. Chlorine was discovered by Scheele in 1774. Manganese was discovered by Gahn, Scheele, and Bergman in 1774. Peligot discovered uranium in 1789. Titanium was discovered by Gregor in 1791. Yttrium was discovered by Gadolin in 1794. Chromium and berrylium were discovered by Vauquelin in 1797 and 1798 respectively. Vanadium was discovered by del Rio in 1801 from columbite ore. Hatchett discovered niobium in 1801. Ekeberg discovered tantalum in 1802. In 1803, Berzelius & Hisinger; Klaproth discovered cerium. Wollaston discovered palladium and rhodium in 1803. Tennant discovered iridium in 1803. Humphery Davy discovered strontium, sodium, boron, barium, calcium and magnesium in 1807. After this discovery, he became the most famous chemist in the United Kingdom. In 1817, Arfvedson discovered lithium, Stromeyer discovered cadmium, Berzelius discovered selenium. Berzelius discovered silicon and zirconium in 1824. Bromine was discovered by Balard in 1827. Aluminum was discovered by Wohler in 1827. Thorium was discovered by Berzelius in 1827. Mosander discovered lanthanum in 1839 and terbium and erbium in 1843. Ruthenium was discovered by Klaus in 1844. Thallium was discovered by Crookesr in 1861. Indium was discovered by Riech and Richter in 1863. In 1860, Kirchoff (a physicist) and Bunsen (a chemist) shined light through an intense, hot and non-luminous flame and on analysis of the spectrum discovered cesium and rubidium. After this, the era of electrochemistry started and in 1866, Henri Moissan discovered fluorine by carrying out electrolysis of hydrogen fluoride acid (HF) and impurity of potassium fluoride was required. Henri Moissan got the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1906. Gallium was discovered by Boisbaudran in 1875. Spectroscopy was used to discover many of the so-called rare earth metals which actually exist in high concentration in the Earthâ€™s crust. Since these metals are difficult to mine therefore were difficult to be discovered. These metals have a large number of applications. For example, neodymium and samarium are powerful magnets, so are used in electrons and yttrium is used in microwave resonators. Ytterbium was discovered by Marignac in 1878. In 1879, samarium was discovered by Boisbaudran. In 1878, scandium was discovered by Nilson and holmium was discovered by Delafontaine. Thulium was discovered by Cleve in 1879. Praseodymium and neodymium were discovered by von Weisbach in 1885. Gadolinium was discovered by Marignac in 1880. Dysprosium was discovered by Boisbaudran in 1886. Germanium was discovered by Winkler in 1886. Argon by discovered by Rayleigh & Ramsay in 1894. Helium was discovered by Ramsay in 1895. The noble gases krypton, neon and xenon were discovered by Ramsay and Travers in 1898. Some elements such as radium and polonium were discovered by the natural radioactive decay of some radioactive elements in 1898. Becquerel, Pierre and Marie Curie got the Noble Price in Physics in 1903 for explaining radioactivity phenomenon.
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