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November 10th is Andrés Manuel Del Rio's birthday. Del Rio was a Spanish mineralogist who discovered the element vanadium -- the first time. He isolated several salts from a mineral known as "brown lead" (called vanadite today) that appeared to be a new element. He noted his salts had similar colors to the salts of chromium, so he named his element panchromium. He renamed it erythronium after he discovered the salts all turned red when heated.

He sent samples of his salts back to Europe but his claim was disputed by French chemist, Collett-Desotils who claimed the element was an impure chromium sample. Del Rio decided he must have been incorrect and withdrew his claim. In another 30 years, Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefström would rediscover Del Rio's erythronium. He named it vanadium, after the Norse goddess of beauty and fertility, Vanadis.

Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.

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