Illustration of Thallium

1861-1862 Thallium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

London, LilleWilliam Crookes, Claude-Auguste Lamy elements Illustration of Thallium


Separately, William Crookes and Claude-Auguste Lamy read that Bunsen and Kirchhoff discovered caesium and rubidium using flame spectroscopy— and took inspiration from Berzelius and Gahn by examining residues from lead chambers used for sulfuric acid production.

Atomic number 81

Although it’s odorless and tasteless, thallium is extremely toxic and thought to be carcinogenic. It’s absorbed easily through skin, or by breathing or swallowing it.

My thallium

I think I might have something wrong with my thallium. When it comes to how I feel, a doctor can’t tell me anything.

Thallium became the third element discovered by flame spectroscopy and the third element named after the color of its spectral lines. Based on its bright green spectral lines, William Crookes named it thallos, Latin for “green shoot.”

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia:

Other readings:

  • Thallium,” Elementymology & Elements Multidict, by Peter van der Krogt