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What element is named after Satan?

Updated: 8/11/2023
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14y ago

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No element is named after Satan. In medieval Germany, a red mineral was found in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) which resembled copper ore. However, when miners were unable to extract any copper from it they blamed mischievous mountain spirits of German mythology called Nickel for besetting the copper. They called this ore Rotnickelkies because it had the redness of copper ore but contained none. This ore is now known as nickeline or niccolite, a nickel arsenide.

In 1751, Baron Axel Fredrik Cronstedt was attempting to extract copper from the ore and obtained instead a white metal that he named Nickel in 1754, derived from Kupfernickel (from kopparnickel, the Swedish word for Rotnickelkies), after the mountain spirits which according to the miners had bewitched the ore. In modern German, Kupfernickel or Kupfer-Nickel designates the alloy cupronickel.

A similar etymology surrounds the element Cobalt, which is derived from the German Kobold, meaning goblin, kobold.

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14y ago
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11y ago

This element is mendelevium (Md).

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11y ago

Nickel (Ni)

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