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Chimia (Aarau). 2011;65(6):429-32.

Vestium or ruthenium--what does a study of the literature tell us?

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Institute of Chemistry of the Military University of Technology, ul. Gen. Sylwestra Kaliskiego 2 00-908 Warszawa 49, Poland.


The process of the discovery of the sixth new element and metal present in raw platinum ore granules, and called vestium or ruthenium, took place between 1807 and 1844. The element was first discovered by the Polish chemist and medical doctor, Jedrzej Sniadecki, professor at Vilnius University, presently Lithuania. It took almost 40 years to confirm the discovery by two German chemists working in Russia, Gottfried Osann and Carl Ernst Claus, who had at their disposition platinum ore recently discovered in the Ural Mountains. The discovery work of Jedrzej Sniadecki was supported by his older brother Jan Sniadecki, a noted mathematician and astronomer, who was also the Rector of Vilnius University at the time of the original discovery. Sniadecki brothers were educated in Poland (Poznań and Cracow) and abroad: Jedrzej in Pavia (Italy), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Vienna, and Jan in Göttingen, Leiden, Utrecht and prerevolutionary Paris.


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