History of Helium


Helium was named for the Greek god of the sun, Helius. Helium was officially discovered by Sir William Ramsay and independently by Na. A. Langley and P.T. Cleve in 1885, though Pierre-Jules-C├ęsar Janssen, a French astronomer, first saw evidence of Helium when he saw a yellow line in the sun's spectrum while studying a total sun eclipse in 1868. Sir Norman Lockyer, an English astonomer, realized that the line could not be produced by any known element at the time. This was when Ramsay, a Scottish chemist, conducted an experiment with a mineral containing uranium called clevite. He exposed clevite to mineral acids and collected those gases. He sent the gases to two scientists, Lockyer and Sir William Crookes, who identified the helium in it. Later on in 1907, Rutherford and Royds demonstrated that alpha particles are helium nuclei.