41. Niobium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Niobium – Niob – Niobium – Niobio – ニオブ – Ниобий – 鈮
Multilingual dictionary

Niobium Latin

— Germanic
Niobium Afrikaans
Niobium Danish
Niob German
Niobium English
Niobium Faroese
Niobium Frisian (West)
Nióbín Icelandic
Niob Luxembourgish
Niobium Dutch
Niob Norwegian
Niob Swedish

— Italic
Niobio Aragonese
Niobiumu Aromanian
Niobiu Asturian
Niobi Catalan
Niobio Spanish
Niobium French
Niobi Friulian
Niobio Galician
Niobio Italian
Niúbi Lombard
Niòbi Occitan
Nióbio Portuguese
Niobiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Ниобий [Niobij] Bulgarian
Niobij[um] Bosnian
Ніобій [niobij] Belarusian
Niob Czech
Niobij Croatian
Niób Kashubian
Ниобиум [Niobium] Macedonian
Niob Polish
Ниобий [Niobij] Russian
Niób Slovak
Niobij Slovenian
Ниобијум [Niobijum] Serbian
Ніобій [niobij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Niobis Lithuanian
Niobijs Latvian
Niuobis Samogitian

— Celtic
Niobiom Breton
Niobiwm Welsh
Niaibiam Gaelic (Irish)
Niòibiam Gaelic (Scottish)
Neeobium Gaelic (Manx)
Nyobyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Νιοβιο [niovio] Greek
Նիոբիում [niobium] Armenian
Niob[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Niyobyûm Kurdish
Ниобий [niobij] Ossetian
Ниобий [Niobi'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
নাইওবিয়াম [nāiobiẏāma] Bengali
نیوبیم [nywbym] Persian
નાયોબિયમનો [nāyobiyamano] Gujarati
नायोबियम [nāyobiyama] Hindi

Nioobium Estonian
Niobium Finnish
Nióbium Hungarian
Ниобий [Niobij] Komi
Ниобий [Niobij] Mari
Ниоби [niobi] Moksha
Nioobium Võro

Niobium Azerbaijani
Ниоби [Niobi] Chuvash
Ниобий [niobij] Kazakh
Ниобий [Niobij] Kyrgyz
Ниоби [niobi] Mongolian
Niobyum Turkish
نىئوبىي [ni'obiy] Uyghur
Niobiy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Niobioa Basque
ნიობიუმი [niobiumi] Georgian

نيوبيوم [niyūbiyūm] Arabic
ניוביום [niobium] Hebrew
Najobjum, ²Njubju Maltese

Nì (鈮) Hakka
ニオブ [niobu] Japanese
나이오븀,니오븀, 니오브 [na'i'obyum, ni'obyum, ni'obeu] Korean
ไนโอเบียม [naiōbiam] Thai
Niobi Vietnamese
[ni2 / lei4] Chinese

Niyobiyo Cebuano
Niobium Indonesian
Niobium Māori
Niobium Malay

Other Asiatic
നിയോബിയം [niyōbiyam] Malayalam
நியோபியம் [niyōpiyam] Tamil

Nobu Lingala
Niobiamo Sesotho
Niobi Swahili

Nextictepoztli Nahuatl

Niyobyu Quechua

Niobimi Sranan Tongo

Niobo Esperanto

New names
Niobion Atomic Elements
Allergicless Dorseyville
memory peg

Deep gray metal which takes on a blue-purple hue as it oxidizes
melting point 2468 °C; 4474 °F
boiling point 4742 °C; 8568 °F
density 8.57 g/cc; 535.01 pounds/cubic foot
1801 Charles Hatchett, England
Νιοβη (Niobe), daughter of Tantalus (Greek mythology)
named by Heinrich Rose, 1844. In 1950 accepted by IUPAC,against Columbium.

History & Etymology

Columbium 1801

In 1801, Charles Hatchett (1765-1847) found an unknown ore at the time during the analysis of some Chromium minerals, which had lain in the British Museum since 1753. The minerals were sent to England by the grandson of John Winthrop (1609-1676), the first governor of Connecticut and alchemist, manufacturing chemist, physician, and rock collector. He called this mineral "columbite" and the corresponding element Columbium, because it had been discovered in an American mineral.

One year later, in 1802, Anders Gustaf Ekeberg (1767-1813) discovered a new element in Finnish minerals similar to the columbite and named it Tantalum. However, in 1809 William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) claimed to have shown Columbium and Tantalum were identical, discrediting Ekeberg's claim.

Niobium 1844, and several alleged elements discovered in Tantalite

  • Niobium and Pelopium, 1844. Heinrich Rose (17951864), analyzing in a sample of columbite (or tantalite) of Bodenmais (Bavaria), showed that Wollaston's claims were false and that not only the element Tantalum was there, but also two new elements which he named after two children of Tantalus: Niobium (after Niobe, goddess of the tears) and Pelopium (after Pelops) (note).

  • Ilmenium, 1846. R. Hermann (1805-1879) had found in a sample of samarskite the new metal Ilmenium (cf. Samarium).
  • Dianium, 1860. The German mineralogist Franz von Kobell (1803-1882) discovered a new element in Tantalite, which he named Dianium, after Diana, goddess of hunting. The American magazine The Living age commented thus:
    "Von Kobell, the distinguished Professor of Mineralogy at the University of Munich, has discovered the acid of a new metal in the somewhat rare mineral from Tammela, in Finland, hitherto known as Tantalite. Von Kobell, following usage, has christened his new substance after an ancient divinity, and, being himself addicted to the noblest of Alpine sports, has carried the name of the «chaste huntress» into chemistry. Dianic acid is the name of the acid, and Dianium must be the designation of its metallic base" (note).
  • Neptunium, 1877. Hermann, making an extended investigation on the Tantalum group of metals in columbite from Haddam, Conn., established not only the existence of Ilmenium as a distinct element, but has also discovered new metal in this group, Neptunium (note).
The researches of the Swedish chemist Christian Wilhelm Blomstrand in 1864, and others, especially of the Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac (1817-1894) in 1866, proved the identity of Columbium, Dianium and Niobium, and that Ilmenium was a mixture of Columbium and Tantalum. Although, in 1861 Henri Etienne Sainte-Claire Deville (1818-1881) and Damour already doubted the existence of Dianium as a separate element and considered it identical with Niobium (note). Hermann's Neptunium was probable a similar mixture.

All these discoveries of new elements within a few years caused some comments of unbelief. That of the science editor of the American magazine the Manufacturer and builder, published July 1880, is also on the Rare Earths page.

Only two elements

The difference between Tantalum and Niobium was unequivocally made by Sainte-Claire Deville and Louis J. Troost (1825-1911), who determined the formulas of some of its compounds. The Columbium of Hatchett was probably a mixture of these two elements, although the term has been used later on as synonymous of Niobium.

Element #41 was therefore long time known as Niobium as well as Columbium. To end this confusion, at the 15th Conference of the Union of Chemistry in Amsterdam in 1949 the name Niobium was chosen for element #41 and a year later this name was accepted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, despite the chronological precedence of the name Columbium. The latter name is still sometimes used in US industry.


Νιοβη [Niobe], daughter of Tantalus, is one of the more tragic figures in Greek myth. She had had fourteen children (the Niobids), and boasted over her progenitive superiority to the Titan Leto, who had only two children (Apollo and Artemis). To punish Niobe for her arrogance, Apollo and Artemis killed her children. She begged the gods to spare her youngest daughter, but they refused. As the final arrow fatally struck the child, Niobe refused to utter a sound and was metamorphosed into a rock, down which tears trickled silently. This stone, described by Pausanias as a natural formation with the appearance of a woman, is located on Mount Sipylus and continues to weep when the snow melts over it. She became the symbol of eternal mourning. Carved on a rock cliff on Mt Sipylus is the fading image of a female that the Greeks claim is Niobe (it was probably Cybele, the great mother-goddess of Asia Minor originally). Composed of porous limestone, the stone appears to weep as the water after a rain seeps through it (Encyclopedia Mythica).

Chemistianity 1873
NIOBIUM, an extremely rare metal,
Obtain'd only as yet in black powder,
Oxides with incandescence when heated in Air.
J. Carrington Sellars, Chemistianity, 1873, p. 155
Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 323-344.
  • Niob. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, 8. Aufl.; System-Nummer 49 (1969).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements