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This list of chemical elements named after people includes elements named for people both directly and indirectly. Of the 118 elements, 19 are connected with the names of 20 people. 15 elements were named to honor 16 scientists (as curium honours both Marie and Pierre Curie). Four others have indirect connection to the names of non-scientists. Only gadolinium and samarium occur in nature; the rest are man-made.
These 19 elements are connected to the names of people. Seaborg and Oganessian were the living persons honored by having elements named after them; Oganessian is the only one still alive. Names were proposed to honor Einstein and Fermi while they were still alive, but they had both died by the time those names became official.
The four elements associated with non-scientists were not named in their honor but named for something else bearing their name: samarium for the mineral samarskite from which it was isolated; and americium, berkelium and livermorium after places named for them. The cities of Berkeley, California and Livermore, California are the locations of the University of California Radiation Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, respectively.
|62||Samarium||Sm||1879||the mineral samarskite||Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets||Mining engineer||1803–1870||Russian|
|64||Gadolinium||Gd||1886||the mineral gadolinite||Johan Gadolin||Scientist||1760–1852||Finnish|
|95||Americium||Am||1944||the continents of the Americas||Amerigo Vespucci||Explorer||1454–1512||Italian|
|97||Berkelium||Bk||1949||Berkeley, California and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory||George Berkeley||Philosopher||1685–1753||Irish|
|104||Rutherfordium||Rf||1969||Ernest Rutherford||Scientist||1871–1937||New Zealand|
|106||Seaborgium||Sg||1974||Glenn T. Seaborg||Scientist||1912–1999||American|
|114||Flerovium||Fl||1998||the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research||Georgy Flyorov||Scientist||1913–1990||Russian|
|116||Livermorium||Lv||2000||Livermore, California, and Lawrence Livermore Lab||Robert Livermore||Land owner||1799–1858||English–Mexican|
Other element names connected with people (real or mythological) have been proposed but failed to gain official international recognition. The following such names received past significant use among scientists:
Names had also been suggested (but not used) to honour Henri Becquerel (becquerelium) and Paul Langevin (langevinium). George Gamow, Lev Landau, and Vitalii Goldanski(who was alive at the time) were suggested for consideration for honoring with elements during the Transfermium Wars, but were not actually proposed.
(See the article on element naming controversies and List of chemical elements named after places.)
Also, mythological entities have had a significant impact on the naming of elements. Helium, titanium, selenium, palladium, promethium, cerium, europium, mercury, thorium, uranium, neptunium and plutonium are all given names connected to mythological characters. With some, that connection is indirect:
Titanium is unique in that it refers to a group of deities rather than any particular individual. So Helios, Selene, Pallas, and Prometheus actually have two elements named in their honor.
And for elements given a name connected with a group, there is also xenon, named for the Greek word ξένον (xenon), neuter singular form of ξένος (xenos), meaning 'foreign(er)', 'strange(r)', or 'guest'. Its discoverer William Ramsay intended this name to be an indication of the qualities of this element in analogy to the generic group of people.
Gallium was discovered by French scientist Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran, who named it in honor of France ("Gallia" in Latin); allegations were later made that he had also named it for himself, as "gallus" is Latin for "le coq", but he denied that this had been his intention.
В свою очередь, российские физики предлагают свой вариант – ланжевений (Ln) в честь известного французского физика-теоретика прошлого столетия Ланжевена.