Rubidium: historical information

  • Discoveror: Robert Bunsen, Gustav Kirchhoff
  • Place of discovery: Germany
  • Date of discovery: 1861
  • Origin of name : from the Latin word "rubidius" meaning "dark red" or "deepest red".

Rubidium was discovered in 1861 spectroscopically by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchoff as an impurity associated with samples of the mineral lepidolite (a form of mica). The name rubidium (from the Latin "rubidus" - dark red) was coined for its bright red spectroscopic lines.

Rubidium salts were isolated by Bunsen by precipitation from spring waters - along with salts of other Group 1 elements. He was able to separate them and isolated the chloride and the carbonate. He isolated rubidium metal by reducing rubidium hydrogen tartrate with carbon.

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