Anders Gustaf Ekeberg

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Anders Gustaf Ekeberg

Anders Gustaf Ekeberg (Stockholm, Sweden, 16 January 1767 – Uppsala, Sweden, 11 February 1813) was a Swedish chemist who discovered tantalum in 1802. He was notably deaf.[1]

Anders Gustav Ekeberg was a Swedish scientist, mathematician and expert in Greek literature. He was a gifted student and enrolled at Uppsala University 1784, graduating in 1788. He was made docent in chemistry 1794 and experimentator (laborator) 1799. In 1799, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Carl Gustaf Ekeberg was his uncle.

Ekeberg is credited with finding the element tantalum in two different minerals, specifically, tantalite from Kimito, Finland and yttrotantalite from Ytterby, Sweden. Ekeberg named the new element after the mythical Ancient Greek demigod Tantalus who, according to legend, was condemned to eternal frustration when he had to stand in water up to his neck, but the water receded as he attempted to drink.[2]

Ekeberg suffered from poor health throughout his life. During his childhood a severe cold had impaired his hearing, which was further weakened over the years, so that it hindered his teaching activities. Subsequently, a gas explosion blinded him in one eye. Ekeberg was portrayed by his friends and students as a kind and gentle man. He died, unmarried, at the age of 46.

The Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize

In 2018 the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center established The Anders Gustaf Ekeberg Tantalum Prize ("Ekeberg Prize"), an annual award to recognize excellence in tantalum research. The Prize will increase awareness of the many unique properties of tantalum products and the applications in which they excel.[3] The inaugural winner of the Ekeberg Prize was Dr Yuri Freeman for his book “Tantalum and Niobium-Based Capacitors” (Springer, 2018).


  1. ^ Lang, Harry G. (June 2002). "Book Review". Isis. 93 (2): 356–357. doi:10.1086/345053. JSTOR 10.1086/345053.
  2. ^ Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.),
  3. ^ Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.),

Further reading[edit]

  • Weeks, Mary Elvira (1932). "The Discovery of the Elements: VII. Columbium, Tantalum, and Vanadium". Journal of Chemical Education. 9 (5): 863–884. doi:10.1021/ed009p863. - subscription required

External links[edit]