Uranium was discovered by a German chemist named Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1789. Klaproth discovered uranium in pitchblende, a mix of uranium oxides, believing it to be pure uranium. It was later determined that he had discovered uranium dioxide.
Uranium is extracted from uranium ores, and it is usually sold in the form of sodium diuranate. The radioactive element is commonly used to generate electricity in the nuclear power industry. Uranium-235 is capable of producing a nuclear chain reaction when combined with certain substances. Uranium is a dense metal that also can be used as a target for X-ray production, as ammunition for some types of military weaponry, as a shield against radiation and as a counterweight for aircraft control surfaces. Uranium compounds are used to color glass and make vaseline glass and glazes.