92. Uranium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Uranium, Uraan† – Uran – Uranium – Uranio – ウラン – Уран – 鈾
Multilingual dictionary

Uranium Latin

— Germanic
Uraan Afrikaans
Uran Danish
Uran German
Uranium English
Uran Faroese
Uranium Frisian (West)
Úran Icelandic
Uran Luxembourgish
Uranium, Uraan† Dutch
Uran Norwegian
Uran Swedish

— Italic
Uranio Aragonese
Uraniumu Aromanian
Uraniu Asturian
Urani Catalan
Uranio Spanish
Uranium French
Urani Friulian
Uranio Galician
Uranio Italian
Üràni Lombard
Urani Occitan
Urânio Portuguese
Uraniu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Уран [Uran] Bulgarian
Uranij[um] Bosnian
Уран [uran] Belarusian
Uran Czech
Uranij Croatian
Ùran Kashubian
Ураниум [Uranium] Macedonian
Uran Polish
Уран [Uran] Russian
Uran Slovak
Uran Slovenian
Уран [Uran] Serbian
Уран [uran] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Uranas Lithuanian
Urāns Latvian
Urans Samogitian

— Celtic
Uraniom Breton
Uraniwm Welsh
Úráiniam Gaelic (Irish)
Uràiniam Gaelic (Scottish)
Uraanium Gaelic (Manx)
Uranyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Ουρανιο [ouranio] Greek
ՈՒրան [uran] Armenian
Uranium, ²Urani Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Uranyûm Kurdish
Уран [uran] Ossetian
Уран [Uran] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
ইউরেনিয়াম [iureniẏāma] Bengali
اورانیم [awranym] Persian
યુરેનિયમનો [--] Gujarati
युरेनियम [yureniyama] Hindi

Uraan Estonian
Uraani Finnish
Urán Hungarian
Уран [Uran] Komi
Уран [Uran] Mari
Урани [urani] Moksha
Uraan Võro

Uran Azerbaijani
Уран [Uran] Chuvash
Уран [ûran] Kazakh
Уран [Uran] Kyrgyz
Уран [uran] Mongolian
Uranyum Turkish
ئۇران ['uran] Uyghur
Uran Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Uranioa Basque
ურანი [urani] Georgian

يورانيوم [yūrāniyūm] Arabic
אורניום [uranium] Hebrew
Uranju[m] Maltese

Yu (鈾) Hakka
ウラン [uran] Japanese
우라늄 [uranyum] Korean
ยูเรเนียม [yūrēniam] Thai
Urani, Uran Vietnamese
[you2 / yau4] Chinese

Uranyo Cebuano
Uranium Indonesian
Konukarihi Māori
Uranium Malay

Other Asiatic
യുറേനിയം [yuṟēniyam] Malayalam
யுரேனியம் [yurēṉiyam] Tamil

Ulanu Lingala
Uraniamo Sesotho
Urani Swahili

Ilhuicateōtepoztli Nahuatl

Uranyu Quechua

Dyurano Sranan Tongo

Uranio Esperanto

New names
Uranion Atomic Elements
Bombinium Dorseyville
memory peg

Silvery heavy radioactive metal
melting point 1132 °C; 2070 °F
boiling point 2818 °C; 5104 °F
density ~18.95 g/cc; ~1183.01 pounds/cubic foot
1789 Martin H. Klaproth, Germany
Uranus, planet, discovered 1781 and named after the Greek god of the Sky and father of the Titans

History & Etymology

The German chemist Martin Klaproth (1743-1817) discovered in 1789 a new element in pitchblende ores from Johanngeorgenstadt in the Saxonian Erzgebirge (Metalliferous Mts.) and Joachimsthal in Bohemia (note). Pitchblende was thought to be a Zinc, Iron or Tungsten ore. First he wanted to name the element Klaprothium, after himself. But he resisted the temptation and proposed, "until a better name was found," to call his element Uranium after the last planet to have been discovered, for which the German astronomer Bode had suggested the name "Uranus" (see below).

Since Mendeleyev's periodic system did not yet exist, Klaproth would not have realized that Uranium, named after the ultimate planet, would for many years be also the ultimate element. When elements 93 and 94 were artificially made many years later, the names Neptunium and Plutonium were chosen on the analogy with the solar system.

The French scientist Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) discovered the radioactive property of Uranium in 1896. Soon many different substances were discovered emanating radiation. Before the nature of radiation was understood, before it was understood that an element can be transformed into a different element, and before the existence of isotopes was proposed, the discovery of these substances created massive confusion. Each source of radiation was around 1900 seen as a separate element. In 1900 William Crookes found that Uranium contained a substance soluble in ammonium hydroxide and ammonium carbonate, which he called Uranium X. Others found there were two Uraniums which they called Uranium 1 and Uranium 2. Uranium X1 formed Uranium X2. Uranium X1 was found to produce two kinds of beta rays resulting in Uranium X2 and Z. In 1911 Uranium Y was found. Eventually they were placed in a sequential series:

Uranium 1 → Uranium X1 → Uranium X2 → Uranium Z → Uranium 2 → Uranium Y.

Later was understood that this concerned a decay series and that each of the Uraniums was an isotope of a different element. In 1902 Frederick Soddy and Ernest Rutherford proposed two of these decay series, one starting with Uranium ending with Lead, and the other starting with Thorium (Ionium) and also ending in Lead (note). (See the tables at all of the elements from Thallium (#81) to Uranium (#92).

In 1913 Frederick Soddy proposed that an element emitting an α-particle is transmuted into the element two spaces to the left on the periodic table, whereas an element emitting a β-particle is transmuted into the element immediately to the right (note). For example, Uranium 1 (now 235U, atomic number 92) emits an α-particle and becomes Uranium X1 (= 234Th, atomic number 90), and this emits a β-particle and becomes Uranium X2 (= 234Pa, atomic number 91). The rules provide a way to understand the decay series and led to Soddy's proposal of isotopes to explain differing atomic weights for samples of the same element produced by different decay modes.

Alternative name

In the 19th century a native Czech name was proposed: nebesník, probably derived from "nebe" = sky.

Isotopes with the historical name Uranium-...
NameHist. symb.Mod. symb.
Uranium I (or 1) U I 238U
Actino-uranium Ac U 235U
Uranium X1 U X1 234Th
Uranium Z U Z 234Pa
Uranium X2 U X2 234Pam
Uranium II (or 2) U II 234U
Uranium Y U Y 231Th

Historical names of Uranium Isotopes
Name & Symbol (hist. and modern) First described
Uranium I (or 1) U I 238U 1910 Hans Geiger & Ernest Rutherford
Actino-uranium Ac U 235U 1935 Arthur Dempster
Uranium II (or 2) U II 234U 1910 Hans Geiger & Ernest Rutherford

Uranus and Uranium
. Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, and the third-largest and fourth most massive planet in the Solar System. Though it is visible to the naked eye like the five classical planets, it was never recognized as a planet by ancient observers because of its dimness and slow orbit. Sir William Herschel announced its discovery on March 13, 1781, expanding the known boundaries of the Solar System for the first time in modern history. Uranus was also the first planet discovered with a telescope. The Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne, asked Herschel to "do the astronomical world the faver [sic] to give a name to your planet, which is entirely your own, & which we are so much obliged to you for the discovery of." In response to Maskelyne's request, Herschel decided to name the object Georgium Sidus (George's Star), or the "Georgian Planet" in honour of his new patron, King George III. He explained this decision in a letter to Joseph Banks:
In the fabulous ages of ancient times the appellations of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn were given to the Planets, as being the names of their principal heroes and divinities. In the present more philosophical era it would hardly be allowable to have recourse to the same method and call it Juno, Pallas, Apollo or Minerva, for a name to our new heavenly body. The first consideration of any particular event, or remarkable incident, seems to be its chronology: if in any future age it should be asked, when this last-found Planet was discovered? It would be a very satisfactory answer to say, 'In the reign of King George the Third.
Herschel's proposed name was not popular outside of Britain, and alternatives were soon proposed. Astronomer Jérôme Lalande proposed the planet be named Herschel in honour of its discoverer. The Berlin astronomer Johann Elert Bode, however, opted for Uranus, the Latinized version of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos (Ancient Greek Οὐρανός) the father of Kronos (Saturn) and grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter). Bode argued that just as Saturn was the father of Jupiter, the new planet should be named after the father of Saturn. In 1789, Bode's Royal Academy colleague Martin Klaproth named his newly–discovered element "uranium" in support of Bode's choice. Ultimately, Bode's suggestion became the most widely used, and became universal in 1850 when HM Nautical Almanac Office, the final holdout, switched from using Georgium Sidus to Uranus (note).

About the name of the Planet Uranus around 30,000 websites say it was given the name of the Greek God Uranus, but 300 websites say it was named after Urania (Οὐρανία), the muse of astrology. (note).

Naming after Urania would be unusual as almost all other planets have the names of Gods but Urania is a muse. But some say it could be true, since Herschel was a musician and knew the muses (note). However, Herschel did not give the name Uranus to the planet he discovered - the name is given by the astronomer Bode.

In the following reviews from the Algemeene Vaderlandsche letter-oefeningen of 1783 the different name proposals are discussed. In a note the reviewer gives as his own opinion that the naming the planet after the father of Saturnus is a good idea.


Chemistianity 1873
URANIUM, whose ore is used to stain Glass,
Is a steel-white colour'd metal. In Air
Does not oxide at ordinary heat,
But, heated strongly, it burns brilliantly.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 153
Further reading
  • James B. Calvert, "Uranium" 2002 (on-line).
  • Winfried Kölzer, Radioaktivität, Strahlenexposition, Strahlenwirkung. Bonn: Informationskreis Kernenergie, 2000 (PDF file on-line).
  • Philippe Hillion, La radioactivité : une épopée - Histoire - chronologie (on-line).
  • Bertrand Goldschmidt, Uranium's Scientific History 1789-1939. World Nuclear Association (on-line).
  • Uran und Isotope. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, 8. Aufl.; System-Nummer 55 (1936).
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 266-271.

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements