Chemical Elements History and Information Hydrogen

About the chemical element Hydrogen, its symbol, atomic number and weight, who discovered it and when.

The Atomic Elements and Their Uses

(Element) (Symbol) (Atomic number) (Atomic weight)

Hydrogen H 1 1.0079

First prepared in the 16th century by Philippus Paracelsus of Switzerland. Clearly distinguished from other flammable gases by Sir Henry Cavendish of England in 1776. Named as an element by Antoine Lavoisier of France in 1781. Hydrogen is the lightest gas and the most abundant element. Ninety percent of all matter is hydrogen, and the sun and stars are almost pure hydrogen. Hydrogen means "water former" because, when it combines with oxygen, it forms water (H2O). Because hydrogen is lighter than air, it has been used to power lighter-than-air craft--balloons and dirigibles. The explosion on May 6, 1937, of the most famous dirigible, the Hindenburg, occurred because of another of hydrogen's qualities: It is highly flammable in air. Hydrogen is so plentiful that scientists are now researching it as a nuclear fuel for fusion reactors.

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