Osmium


Osmium was discovered, in 1802, by Smithson Tennant, while working in London. Tennant made a partnership with W. H. Wollaston, in 1800, with the purpose of developing and improving the platinum refining technology. One of the shipments of native platinum, from South America, was treated with aqua regia. The product, a dark residue, was melted with alkalis and treated with acid, distilled and then condensed, leading to a greasy liquid, with a strong and peculiar smell, and then to a semi-transparent solid. This solid was a compound of a new element, called osmium by those scientists. Its name derives from the Greek word for smell: osmé.