• Question: When was the first element from the periodic table found and what was it again??? Anna

    Asked by whvicandanna to Anil, Blanka, Emma, Mike on 4 Jul 2012.
    • Photo: Michael Cook

      Michael Cook answered on 4 Jul 2012:

      We already knew about lots of elements when the periodic table was first written down, like sodium and oxygen. However, by thinking about the elements in this very organised way, chemists were able to predict the existence of new elements by looking at gaps in their tables and guessing that there should be something in there to fill the gap. I had a look to see what sort of elements they predicted – one of these elements was gallium, which is used to make lots of metal alloys that are important for electronics.

    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 5 Jul 2012:

      As Mike said this is tricky because scientists were discovering elements before anyone decided to write them all in a table.

      People knew about iron thousands of years ago (back in the ‘iron age’ in fact) – maybe that is the first element that we really knew about?