Charles Hatchett, British chemist

Charles Hatchett, British chemist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Charles Hatchett (1765-1847), British chemist and mineralogist. Hatchett discovered the metal element niobium in an ore sample that he found in Connecticut, USA. He named the metal columbium in honour of its country of origin (Columbia being a synonym for the USA). The German chemist Heinrich Rose later re-discovered the metal and named it niobium (after the mythological Greek goddess Niobe). After many years of disagreement it was decided that niobium and columbium were the same element, and niobium was chosen as its official name. Niobium is used today in stainless steel, increasing its resistance to corrosion at high temperatures.

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