At room temperature, beryllium is a solid element that is also a metal. Its atomic number is 4, and it belongs to the alkaline earth metals group (Group 2) on the periodic table of elements.
Beryllium is a very light metal with a white-grayish color, and it is ideal for heat conductivity. Its melting point is 2349 degrees Fahrenheit or 1287 degrees Celsius.
In nature, beryllium occurs as a compound in minerals like beryl and emeralds. In 1798, Abbe Hauy and Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin discovered the presence of an unknown material in these two minerals. In 1828, chemists Friedrich Wölhler and A. Bussy were independently successful in isolating beryllium from the compound beryllium chloride.
The main source of beryllium is the mineral beryl. The main uses of beryllium today are as an alloying agent, in nuclear reactors and as a structural component in spacecrafts.