List of misidentified chemical elements

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Chemical elements that have been mistakenly "discovered". Further investigation showed that their discovery was either mistaken, that they have been mistaken from an already-known element, or mixture of two elements, or that they indicated a failing in theory where a new element had been assumed rather than some previously unknown behaviour.[i]

Name Symbol Atomic number Actual element Discovery date Discoverer
Alabamium Ab 85 Astatine 1931 Fred Allison
Alkalinium 87 Francium 1926 Gerald J. F. Druce, Frederick H. Loring
Anglohelvetium See Helvetium
Arconium 1911 J. W. Nicholson
Asterium 1898 Norman Lockyer, Carl David Tolmé Runge, Friedrich Paschen
Aurorium 1874 William Huggins [1]
Ausonium Ao 93 Neptunium 1934 Enrico Fermi [2][3]
Austrium 31 Gallium 1886 Eduard Linnemann Hypothesised from spectral line observations in the rare-earth mineral orthite.[4] It was later confirmed that these lines were due to the recently discovered gallium.
Berzelium Bz 90 Thorium 1901 Charles Baskerville See Carolinium
Bohemium 93 Neptunium 1934 Odolen Koblic
Carolinium Cn 90 Thorium 1901 Charles Baskerville With Berzelium, erroneously identified as a mixture of three elements, with thorium, during work at the University of North Carolina.[5]
Coronium 26 Iron 1869 Charles Augustus Young
and William Harkness
Hypothesised from a 530.3 nm green emission line in the coronal spectrum. Later, around 1902, renamed as Newtonium. In the 1930s recognised as highly ionized iron, rather than a new element.
Cyclonium 61 Promethium 1941 H. B. Law, Ohio State University
Dakin Dk 85 Astatine 1937 Rajendralal De Cepare
Davyum Iridium and rhodium 1877 Serge Kern [6]
Decipium Samarium and other rare earths 1878 Marc Delafontaine Thought to have been isolated from the mineral samarskite in 1878.[7]
Dianium Niobium and tantalum 1860 Wolfgang Franz von Kobell See Pelopium
Didymium Praseodymium and neodymium 1841 Carl Mosander
Dorine 85 Astatine 1936 Horia Hulubei, Yvette Cauchois
Eka-caesium 87 Francium
Eka-rhenium 107 Bohrium
Florentium 61 Promethium 1924 Luigi Rolla and Lorenzo Fernandes
Ghiorsium Gh 118 Oganesson 1999 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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 [2][3]
Illinium 61 Promethium 1926 Smith Hopkins and Len Yntema, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Ilmenium Niobium and tantalum 1847 R. Hermann See Pelopium
Lucium 39 Yttrium 1896 Prosper Barrière
Masurium 43 Technetium 1925 Walter Noddack, Otto Berg, Ida Noddack
Moldavium Mi 87 Francium 1936 Horia Hulubei, Yvette Cauchois
Monium 1898 See Victorium
Muriaticum 17 Chlorine 1774 Carl Wilhelm Scheele
Murium 1785 Claude Louis Berthollet
Nebulium Oxygen 1864 William Huggins
Neutronium 0 (Neutronium) 1926 Andreas von Antropoff
Newtonium 1902 See Coronium
Nipponium Np 75 Rhenium 1908 Masataka Ogawa [8]
Pelopium Niobium and tantalum 1846 Heinrich Rose Confused with mixtures of the difficult to distinguish niobium and tantalum, extracted from the mineral tantalite.[9]
Polinium 77 Iridium 1828 Gottfried Osann
Ptene 76 Osmium 1803 Hippolyte-Victor Collet-Descotils, Antoine François, comte de Fourcroy, Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, Smithson Tennant
Protyle 1816 William Prout
Russium 87 Francium 1925 D. K. Dobroserdov
Sergenium Sg 108 Hassium 1963 Victor Cherdyntsev
Sequanium 93 Neptunium 1939 Horia Hulubei Thought to have been present in tantalite ore, actually not present, rather than mis-identified.[10]
Unbibium Ubb 122 (Unbibium) 2008 Amnon Marinov
Victorium Gadolinium and terbium 1898 William Crookes
Virginium Vi (Vm) 87 Francium 1930 Fred Allison
Wasium Mixture of rare earths 1862 J. F. Bahr Another element identified in ores from Ytterby.[11]


  1. ^ I.e. the spectrum of highly-ionised iron being identified as Coronium.
  1. ^ <
  2. ^ a b Element name etymologies
  3. ^ a b Fermi, Enrico (December 12, 1938). "Artificial radioactivity produced by neutron bombardment" (PDF). Nobel Lecture. pp. 416–417.
  4. ^ Linnemann, Eduard (1886). "Austrium, ein neues metallisches Element" (PDF). Monatshefte für Chemie. 7 (1): 121. doi:10.1007/BF01516564.
  5. ^ Baskerville, Charles (1901). "On the Existence of a new Element associated with Thorium". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 23 (10): 761–764. doi:10.1021/ja02036a004.
  6. ^ Kern, Serge (1877). "On a new metal, davyum" (PDF). Philos. Mag. Series 5. 4 (23): 158–159. doi:10.1080/14786447708639315.
  7. ^ Delafontaine, Marc (1878). "Sur le décepium, métal nouveau de la samarskite". Journal de pharmacie et de chimie. 28: 540.
  8. ^ Yoshihara, H. K. (2004). "Discovery of a new element 'nipponiumʼ: re-evaluation of pioneering works of Masataka Ogawa and his son Eijiro Ogawa". Spectrochimica Acta Part B Atomic Spectroscopy. 59 (8): 1305–1310. Bibcode:2004AcSpe..59.1305Y. doi:10.1016/j.sab.2003.12.027.
  9. ^ Rose, Heinrich (1846). "On a new metal, pelopium, contained in the Bavarian tantalite". Philos. Mag. Series 3. 29 (195): 409–416. doi:10.1080/14786444608645529.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Delafontaine, M. (1864). "Ueber das Wasium". Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie. 131 (3): 368. doi:10.1002/jlac.18641310316.