1908,1925 Rhenium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

London, BerlinMasataka Ogawa, Walter Noddack, Ida Tacke, Otto Berg elements Rhenium


Ida Tacke might have been the one who discovered rhenium in 1925. It was named after her homeland Reinland along the Rhine. Her collaborators also got credit, her future husband Walter Noddack, and X-ray specialist Otto Berg, who identified the new element. Masataka Ogawa is usually ignored. He found it first in 1908, but he identified it as element 43. Others couldn’t replicate his work. Working backwards, Dmitri Mendeleev also deserves some credit. He predicted element 75 as dvi-manganese in 1869.

Atomic number 75

Nickel alloys with rhenium for military jet engines. Platinum–rhenium catalysts for refining gasoline. Tungsten-rhenium alloys for producing X-rays.

Metals everywhere

Most elements are metals— shiny or oxidized solids, good conductors, and alloying with other metals. If it weren’t for chemistry, we’d all be like the tinman with rusted hinges.

Over 90 of the first 117 elements are metals. Of these, only a few exist natively in a pure state, including gold, platinum, silver, copper, iron, and osmium. Metal ores are typically sulfides, oxides, hydroxides, carbonates, and silicates.

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