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What the name means: Palladium was named after an asteroid that had been recently discovered in 1803. The asteroid, that had been named Pallas, had itself been named after the Greek god of wisdom, Pallas Athene.
Who identified palladium?: In 1802 a British scientist, William Hyde Wollaston, extracted an unidentified metal from a sample of platinum ore that had come from Brazil. Instead of publishing his work in a scientific journal, he posted an anonymous avert offering to sell the new metal. The sample was bought by an Irish scientist called Richard Chenevix. In fact, Chenevix bought more samples of the metal that he analysed and concluded that it was not a new metal but a simple alloy of known metals.
Chenevix addressed the Royal Society and Wollaston, still incognito, wrote letters defending his identification of a new element. Eventually, in 1905, once the debate had concluded that a new element had been identified, Wollaston owed up that he was the correspondent.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About palladium: Palladium is found as the free metal, mostly associated with platinum, mercury, nickel and copper ores. It is quite rare in the Earth's crust. It can be found alloyed to gold creating "white gold". Palladium is a silvery metal that does not corrode in the air. Two of its main uses are in making jewellery and precision medical instruments.
It has one very interesting property in that it is able to absorb hydrogen gas.
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