List of misidentified chemical elements

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Name Symbol Atomic number Actual element Discovery date Discoverer
Anglohelvetium See Helvetium
Ausonium Ao 93 Neptunium 1934 Enrico Fermi [1][2]
Austrium Gallium 1886 Eduard Linnemann Hypothesised from spectral line observations in the rare earth mineral orthite.[3] It was later confirmed that these lines were due to the recently discovered gallium.
Berzelium Bz Thorium 1901 Charles Baskerville
Bohemium 93 Neptunium 1934 Odolen Koblic
Carolinium Cn Thorium 1901 Charles Baskerville
Coronium Iron 1869 Charles Augustus Young
and William Harkness
Hypothesised from a 530.3 nm green emission line in the coronal spectrum; in the 1930s recognised as highly ionized iron, rather than a new element.

Later, around 1902, renamed as Newtonium

Davyum Iridium and rhodium 1877 Serge Kern
Decipium Samarium and other rare earths 1878 Marc Delafontaine Thought to have been isolated from the mineral samarskite in 1878.[4]
Dianium Niobium and tantalum 1860 Wolfgang Franz von Kobell
Didymium Praseodymium and neodymium 1841 Carl Mosander
Gnomium Similarities to nickel and iron 1892 Gerhard Krüss
and F. W. Schmidt
Not discovered, but hypothesised to explain discrepancies within the iron group elements for an early periodic table ordered by mass. The concept of atomic number clarified the situation without requiring the invention of a new element.
Helvetium 85 Astatine 1940 Walter Minder Rediscovered [sic] in 1942 and named Anglohelvetium
Hesperium Hs 94 Plutonium 1934 Enrico Fermi [1][2]
Ilmenium Niobium and tantalum 1847 R. Hermann
Lucium Yttrium 1896 Prosper Barrière
Nebulium Oxygen 1864 William Huggins
Newtonium 1902 See Coronium
Pelopium Niobium and tantalum 1846 Heinrich Rose
Sequanium 93 Neptunium 1939 Horia Hulubei Thought to have been present in tantalite ore, actually not present, rather than mis-identified.[5]
Wasium Mixture of rare earths 1862 J.F. Bahr


  1. ^ a b Element name etymologies
  2. ^ a b Fermi, Enrico (December 12, 1938). "Artificial radioactivity produced by neutron bombardment" (PDF). Nobel Lecture. pp. 416–417. 
  3. ^ Linnemann, Eduard (1886). "Austrium, ein neues metallisches Element". Monatshefte für Chemie. 7 (1): 121. doi:10.1007/BF01516564. 
  4. ^ Delafontaine, Marc (1878). "Sur le décepium, métal nouveau de la samarskite". Journal de pharmacie et de chimie. 28: 540. 
  5. ^ Fontani, Marco (2005-09-10). "The Twilight of the Naturally-Occurring Elements: Moldavium (Ml), Sequanium (Sq) and Dor (Do)". International Conference on the History of Chemistry. Lisbon. pp. 1–8. Archived from the original on 2006-02-24.