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Helvetium was the suggested name of chemical element number 85, now known as astatine, given to it by the Swiss chemist Walter Minder. Walter Minder announced the discovery in 1940.[1] He chose the name based on "Helvetia", the Latin name for Switzerland, to honor his country of birth.

In the year 1942 he together with Alice Leigh-Smith announced a second time the discovery of element number 85.[2] This time he proposed the name anglohelvetium to honor also England, the home of Alice Leigh-Smith.

Later it was proven that in fact he had not discovered element 85.[3][4][further explanation needed]


  1. ^ "Element 85". Nature. 146 (3694): 225. 1940. Bibcode:1940Natur.146Q.225.. doi:10.1038/146225a0.
  2. ^ Alice Leigh-Smith, Walter Minder (1942). "Experimental Evidence of the Existence of Element 85 in the Thorium Family". Nature. 150 (3817): 767–768. Bibcode:1942Natur.150..767L. doi:10.1038/150767a0.
  3. ^ Karlik, Berta; Bernert, Traude (1942). "Über eine vermutete ß-Strahlung des Radium A und die natürliche Existenz des Elementes 85". Naturwissenschaften. 30 (44–45): 685. Bibcode:1942NW.....30..685K. doi:10.1007/BF01487965.
  4. ^ Nefedov, V D; Norseev, Yu V; Toropova, M A; Khalkin, Vladimir A (1968). "Astatine". Russian Chemical Reviews. 37 (2): 87. Bibcode:1968RuCRv..37...87N. doi:10.1070/RC1968v037n02ABEH001603.