Neodymium (Chemical Elements)
Neodymium was discovered in 1885 by Austrian chemist Carl Auer (Baron von Welsbach; 1858-1929). Auer found the new element in a mineral called didymia. Didymia, in turn, had been found in another complicated mineral known as ceria, originally found in Sweden in 1803. It took chemists nearly a century to completely analyze ceria. When they had done so, they found that it contained seven new elements. Neodymium was one of these.
Neodymium is in Row 6 of the periodic table. The periodic table is a chart that shows how chemical elements are related to each other. The elements in Row 6 are sometimes called the rare earth elements. The term "rare earth" is inaccurate, however. These elements are not especially rare but are difficult to separate from each other. The rare earth elements are also called the lanthanides. That name comes from the third element in Row 6, lanthanum.
Neodymium has long been used in coloring glass and is now used in making lasers, very powerful magnets, and special alloys.
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