ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heinrich Rose (1795-1864), German chemist. Rose was born and educated in Berlin, son of pharmacologist Valentin Rose. From 1823 he served as Professor of Chemistry in Berlin. Rose was a gifted analytical chemist. In 1846 he rediscovered the element niobium which had been first observed in 1801 by Hatchett. Hatchett had called this metal columbium, but later Wollaston claimed that it was simply tantalum, the other metal in columbite. Rose was able to show conclusively that tantalum and columbium were present and were distinct, despite extremely similar physical and chemical properties. Columbium was renamed niobium, after Niobe, daughter of Tantalus. Ironically, Rose himself mistook the two when isolating metal from tantalite ore - he claimed to have discovered a new element which he called pelopium, which later proved to be a blend of tantalum and niobium.
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