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Article changed over to new Wikipedia:WikiProject Elements format by maveric149. Elementbox converted 10:53, 14 July 2005 by Femto (previous revision was that of 00:41, 11 July 2005). 11 July 2005

Information Sources[edit]

Some of the text in this entry was rewritten from Los Alamos National Laboratory - Lutetium. Additional text was taken directly from the Elements database 20001107 (via, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (via and WordNet (r) 1.7 (via Data for the table were obtained from the sources listed on the subject page and Wikipedia:WikiProject Elements but were reformatted and converted into SI units.

Least abundant element?[edit]

The occurrence section states that this element is "the least abundant of all naturally-occurring elements". The article on Astatine also makes this claim, when it says "Astatine is the rarest naturally occuring element". They can't both be the rarest natrally occuring elements. TerraFrost 02:38, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think this has already been corrected, but lutetium is ranked as about as abundant as silver. Scott Tygett Sept. 2007


The controversy re-erupted in the 1920s, because of the celtium/hafnium dispute with Urbain; the Copenhagen discoverers of hafnium, Coster and Hevesy, re-looked into the old controversy between Auer and Urbain on element 71 to get to the bottom of the question of what Urbain had found as celtium. As described in the article, they realised by investigating the spectral lines and magnetic properties that Urbain's lutetium was very impure, and that he was misled into finding celtium, which was actually pure element 71. Since Auer's cassiopeium was indeed element 71, they recommended the use of the names cassiopeium and hafnium for elements 71 and 72, and kept ytterbium for element 70 (instead of Auer's aldebaranium) in memory of Marignac. Bohr was a supporter of this campaign, and most German and Austrian periodicals adopted these names (e.g. (In fact, the reason James stayed out of the priority was that Urbain published his results first, and James then stopped pursuing the matter, unlike Auer.) I would indeed like to know when Auer's beautiful name finally dropped out of use and how it happened. (Easily one of the prettiest names ever proposed for an element!) Double sharp (talk) 09:24, 26 July 2016 (UTC)

P.S. Some today still award the credit for the discovery of lutetium to Auer, such as Gschneider et al. in the Handbook on the Physics and Chemistry of Rare Earths. This is essentially the same viewpoint as that of Kirby and Ross, who considered Giesel and not Debierne the true discoverer of element 89, actinium. But, unlike what you may read on some "periodic table fan sites" online, I have not seen anyone today seriously call element 71 cassiopeium. As for the Baron von Welsbach, he spent his last years on the futile quest of fractionating thulium into three nonexistent new elements in his castle in Carinthia; posterity has at least judged him the sole discoverer of two elements, praseodymium and neodymium. (The usual convention for this is that when a rare earth was separated in two, the original discoverer and name was retained for one of them. Auer did not respect this convention by renaming element 70 aldebaranium, nor with elements 59 and 60, but the latter case was, I presume, accepted because Mosander already had lanthanum to his credit – and perhaps because, didymium meaning "twin element", it seemed appropriate that it should be split in two.) Double sharp (talk) 09:28, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
P.P.S. Besides, the use of the neo- prefix seemed to be an acceptable modification to this rule; witness how Urbain's purified element 70 was first named neoytterbium, before its name reverted back to ytterbium. Double sharp (talk) 13:49, 30 July 2016 (UTC)


So, what do "lutecium" and "lutetium" MEAN?
There is usually some explanation, such as "dysprosium" = "hard to get at"; "hafnium" is from an old name for Copenhagen; "holmium" is for an old name for Stockholm. Yttrium and ytterbium were both named for the same small village in Sweden, located in the old region named "Thule" (hence thulium), which was part of Scandinavia (hence scandium), where one of the old gods was named "Thor" (hence thorium). Tantalum was named for a mythological king named "Tantalus", and niobium for his daughter "Niobe", taking away the name of "columbium"
. Titanium was named for the mythological titans, and cobalt was named for some small mythological sprites. Some of the elements were named for the minerals or substances that they were found in abundance: aluminum, beryllium, boron, cadmium, fluorine, hydrogen, manganese, magnesium, nitrogen, potassium, sodium, tungsten (hard stone), zirconium, and maybe more.
Some were named for heavenly bodies in alignment with Ancient Greek and Roman associations: helium, selenium, tellurium, cerium, palladium, uranium, neptunium, plutonium. The ancients had associated mercury with Mercury, of course; silver with Venus; iron with Mars; gold with Jupiter; and lead with Saturn. This left some ancient elements w/o celestial partners: bismuth, carbon, sulfur, tin, and zinc. Most of the ancients thought that cadmium was just a variety of zinc, or else some alloy like brass, bronze, and pewter.
Some elements were named for fairly common folks, like samarium and gadolinium. (talk) 11:07, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

As the 'History' section states in the very first sentence, the name lutetium derives from the Latin Lutetia meaning Paris. Auer's suggested name cassiopeium derives from the constellation. Double sharp (talk) 12:08, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

More sources of names, with meanings:[edit]

Continents: europium, americium
Countries/states/regions/rivers: californium, francium, germanium, polonium, rhenium, ruthenium, thulium.
Scientists/engineers: bohrium, curium, einsteinium, fermium, lawrencium, mendelevium, nobelium, rutherfordium, seaborgium.
Lithium was not named for Lithuania, but rather for an ancient word for "rock" or "mineral". There is a place called Lithia Springs, Georgia, where there are springs with a high content of minerals.
Other elements, especially spectroscopic ones, were named for the colors that they give off, or else for the colors of their solutions or compounds: rubidium, cesium, gold, silver, strontium, chlorine, phosphorus, iridium (a whole rainbow of colors). (talk) 11:29, 19 December 2016 (UTC)