The confusion over columbium persisted for sixty-five years
and original name continues to be used in the United States.
Columbium was named after columbite, named in turn after Christopher Columbus,
because it was collected by John Winthrop, the first governer of Virginia.
Heinrich Rose named niobium after Niobe, the daughter of Tantalus in Greek mythology,
because of the niobium’s relationship with tantalum,
which Anders Gustaf Ekeberg named after Tantalus
because the oxide of tantlum was insoluble in acid and metaphorically
unable, as Tantalus in Hades, to quench its thirst.
See also in The book of science:
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