Q:

How Many Elements Are Named for Mythological Figures?

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Quick Answer

As of June of 2014, seven elements are named for mythological figures: Niobium, Promethium, Thorium, Tantalum, Mercury, Titanium and Vanadium. The names are derived from Roman, Greek and Norse mythology.

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Full Answer

The source of the seven elements named for mythological figures are as follows:

  • Niobium was named after Niobe, who was the daughter of Tantalus. The name was chosen due to the similarities between niobium and the element tantalum.
  • Promethium was named after Prometheus, the Greek god who gave fire to mankind.
  • Thorium is named for the Norse god of thunder, Thor.
  • Tantalum's name comes from Tantalus, who was a Greek mythological figure.
  • Mercury is the name of the Roman messenger god, who was known for his speed through the air.
  • Titanium's name is derived from the Titans who appear in Greek mythology.
  • Vanadium takes its name from Vanadis, who is also known as Freya in Norse mythology. She is the goddess of beauty.
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