At room temperature, beryllium is a solid. Beryllium is an alkaline earth metal that is very lightweight and has a melting point of 1,287 degrees Celsius. Its chemical symbol is "Be," and it has four protons.
At one time, another name for beryllium was glucinum because it and its compounds have a sweet taste. Although sweet tasting, beryllium is toxic, and exposure to it can cause health problems.
In 1798, Abbe Hauy recognized similarities in the crystal structures of the minerals beryl and the gemstone emerald. In the same year, Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin discovered the presence of the element beryl in these two substances. However, in 1828, the chemists Friedrich Wohler and Antoine Bussy were independently able to isolate pure beryllium from beryllium chloride.
The nuclear industry uses beryllium and its compounds for various applications, including in nuclear reactors.