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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 17 (2012) pp 213-219
DOI 10.1007/s00897122450

Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1838–1912), Discoverer of Gallium: A Retrospective View on the Centenary of His Death

George B. Kauffman*and Jean-Pierre Adloff

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,; Honorary Professor, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France F-67100,

Published: 7 November 2012

Abstract. Stimulated by Dmitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev’s prediction of the existence of a number of elements missing from his periodic system, a number of chemists initiated a search for these elements. The first of these, gallium, was discovered in 1875 by the French chemist Paul-Emile Lecoq de Boisbaudran (1838-1912), who also discovered samarium (1879) and dysprosium (1886) and was involved in the discovery of gadolinium (1886) and the identification of europium (1901). His life and achievements are reviewed here on the occasion of the centenary of his death.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography; discovery of the elements; lanthanides; rare earths; periodic table; prediction of missing elements; french chemistry; spectroscopy

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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