Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Discovery of Phosphorus

German alchemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorus while trying to make gold from pee.

In 1669, in attempt to create the Philosopher's Stone, Brand boiled down a vat of urine until the leftover substance was red-hot. The refuse then liquefied and burst into flames! Once this residue cooled and hardened, it continued to give off a pale greenish glow. He named his new substance “phosphorus,” from the Greek for “light bearer. ”In the end, Brand boiled nearly 5,500 liters of urine in order to produce only 120 grams of phosphorus!

(Sources: 1, 2)

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