Elementymology & Elements Multidict
Lanthaan – Lanthan – Lanthane – Lantano – ランタン – Лантан – 鑭
Lanthaan Frisian (West)
Lantan, ²Lanþan Icelandic
Lantan Romanian - Moldovan
SlavicЛантан [Lantan] Bulgarian
Lanthanum, ²Lantan Bosnian
Лантан [lantan] Belarusian
Лантан [Lantan] Macedonian
Лантан [Lantan] Russian
Лантан [Lantan] Serbian
Лантан [lantan] Ukrainian
Lantainam Gaelic (Irish)
Lantanam Gaelic (Scottish)
Lantanum Gaelic (Manx)
Other Indo-EuropeanΛανθανιο [lanthanio] Greek
Լանթան [lant'an] Armenian
Lantan, ²Lanthani Albanian
Лантан [lantan] Ossetian
Лантан [Lantan] Tajik
Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryanল্যান্থানাম [lyānthānāma] Bengali
لانتانوم [lantanwm] Persian
લૅન્થેનમનો [lenthennamano] Gujarati
लाञ्थनम [lāñthanama] Hindi
Лантан [Lantan] Komi
Лантан [Lantan] Mari
Лантан [lantan] Moksha
Лантан [Lantan] Chuvash
Лантан [lantan] Kazakh
Лантан [Lantan] Kyrgyz
Лантан [lantan] Mongolian
لانتان [lantan] Uyghur
Other (Europe)Lantanoa Basque
ლანთანი [lant'ani] Georgian
Afro-Asiaticلنثانوم [lanthānūm] Arabic
לנתן [lanthan] Hebrew
Lantanum, ²Lantanju Maltese
Sino-TibetanLàn (碲) Hakka
ランタン [rantan] Japanese
란탄, 2란타넘 [lantan, lantaneom] Korean
แลนทานัม [laenthānam] Thai
鑭 [lan4 / laan4] Chinese
Other Asiaticലാന്തനം [lāntan] Malayalam
லந்தானம் [lantāṉam] Tamil
CreoleLantanimi Sranan Tongo
New namesLantion Atomic Elements
History & Etymology
Lanthanum was discovered in 1839 by Carl Gustav Mosander (1797-1858), since 1832 professor of chemistry and mineralogy at the Caroline Institute in Stockholm, as successor of Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848).
In 1825, Berzelius has asked Mosander to prepare Cerium sulphide and it was during the course of this work that Mosander became convinced that this oxide contained another earth (oxide) (Cf. Cerium). Ten years later he took up the separations again, and the existence of a new element became established in November 1838. A few months later the discovery was made more widely known by Berzelius through his letters and a detailed account in the Annual Report (Årsberättelse).
Since the new oxide was extracted as an impurity from cerium nitrate, Berzelius suggested the name lanthana, from the Greek λανθανω [lanthanō] = to lie hidden.
"Mosander seems willing to take my suggestion to name it [the new element] Lanthanum and the oxide (the new soluble salt) lanthanum oxide or lanthana. Lanthano (Greek) means to hide or to escape notice. Lanthana lay hidden in the mineral cerite for 36 years after ceria (containing element Cerium) was discovered in the mineral cerite in 1803."
Berzelius erroneously used a τ (t) instead of a θ (th) in the Greek verb, hence Lantan instead of Lanthan.
Mosander withheld publication frustrating Berzelius and Wöhler, while continuing his efforts at purification. Finally, he announced the results of his research in a paper held in July 1842 in Stockholm. An English translation was published in the Philosophical Magazine, and after this a German version in Poggendorf's Annalen: "Ueber die das Cerium begleitenden neuen Metalle Lanthanium und Didymium, so wie über die mit der Yttererde vorkommenden neuen Metalle Erbium und Terbium" (On the new metals Lanthanum and Didymium, accompanying Cerium, and on the metals Erbium and Terbium occurring with yttria) (note). Later, continuing analysis of Lanthana showed that it contained four new elements, see further Didymium (at Praseodymium).
For more than one century any important applications for this element were not found. The interest for lanthanum was just scientific, being limited to the investigators improving its separation techniques and purification and knowing its spectrum.
LANTHANUM, a graphite-like metal,
Is a dark lead-grey powder, soft to the touch,
And which, when hard press'd, adheres in compact mass.
Its Oxide turns red litmus paper blue.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 131-132