Lithium is an important element with a wide range of applications in electronics, manufacturing, and medicine. Despite its importance, many people are unaware of who discovered lithium and how it was discovered. This article looks at the history of lithium discovery and explains who and how it was discovered.
Who Discovered Lithium?
The discovery of lithium is credited to Johan August Arfvedson, a Swedish chemist, in 1817. Arfvedson was working as a chemist at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences at the time of his discovery. He was conducting an analysis of the mineral petalite when he identified a new element, which he named ‘lithium’. The name lithium was derived from the Greek word for stone, lithos.
In 1855, Robert Bunsen and Augustus Matthiessen were able to isolate lithium in its pure form. This marked an important milestone in the understanding of lithium, as it enabled scientists to explore its properties and applications in more depth.
In 1923, an Australian team led by William Bremner and Thomas Cawse discovered that lithium had medical applications. This discovery was the first step in unlocking the potential of lithium as an important medical resource.
How Was Lithium Discovered?
Arfvedson made his discovery using a technique known as spectroscopy. This technique measures the wavelength of light reflected off of different elements. By studying the reflections of light, Arfvedson was able to identify elements based on their unique spectral signature.
Bunsen and Matthiessen’s isolation of lithium marked an important step in the understanding of the element. They used a process known as fractional crystallization to separate different elements in a substance. This process involves cooling a substance to different temperatures in order to separate the elements contained within it.
Finally, Bremner and Cawse’s breakthrough in 1923 was the result of their experimentation with lithium salts. By injecting lithium salts into animals, they were able to observe the effects that the element had on the body. This led to the discovery that lithium could be used to treat certain mental disorders.
Today, lithium is an incredibly important element with a wide range of applications. Its discovery can be traced back to the work of Johan August Arfvedson in 1817, who identified the element using spectroscopy. Later, Robert Bunsen and Augustus Matthiessen isolated the element in its pure form, while William Bremner and Thomas Cawse discovered its medical applications. All of these researchers played an important role in unlocking the potential of lithium.