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February 19th is Ferdinand Reich's birthday. Reich was a German chemist who co-discovered the element indium with Hieronymus Richter. They identifed the element using the relatively new technique of spectroscopy. When a substance is heated, the light it emits can be passed through a prism to separate individual bands of color that are unique to each element. They isolated a substance that turned out to be a new element that gave off a vivid indigo spectral line and named it indium.

Indium is a shiny, silver-white metal with element number 49. It is a very soft metal that when bent emits a 'cry' that is a high pitched squeak when bent. It is commonly used in semiconductor electronics, mirrors and as a coating for high performance bearings. It's most common use today is in liquid crystal displays and touchscreens.

Find out more about Reich and what else occurred on this day in science history.

Comments

February 19, 2010 at 10:17 am
(1) Ferdinand (a.k.a. Steve Mendes) says:

I’m confused… Who’s birthday was it — Ferdinand Richter or Ferdinand Reich’s? Or was it Ferdinand Reich’s and he co-discovered Indium with himself? ;-)

And what are the odds that two Ferdinands would co-discover an element? (math question)

–Steve

February 19, 2010 at 10:36 am
(2) MorrisMcgurk says:

Do you know where I can find a good explanation of how current theory interprets the spectral signatures of the elements? Also, where I can find pictures of the signatures for all the elements?

And do the signatures express themselves beyond the visible spectrum?

Are the different lines in a signature emitted at specific temperatures? Or can any of the lines be emitted anytime, or under any conditions?

Thanks much

February 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm
(3) gunshot says:

im really happy with the works of these great scientists in the month of February……it was for the betterment of the world yet St Valentine was doin nonsense nd he ddn even noe how to preserve his flowers frm wilting until the scientists ddn it

big up scientists

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