hydrogen

Discovery of Hydrogen and Its Isotopes

Although hydrogen was prepared many years earlier, it was first recognized as a substance distinct from other flammable gases in 1766 by Henry Cavendish, who is credited with its discovery; it was named by A. L. Lavoisier in 1783. Deuterium was discovered by H. C. Urey, F. G. Brickwedde, and G. M. Murphy in 1932, although its existence had been suspected for some years. Deuterium oxide was also discovered by Urey and was first obtained in nearly pure form by G. N. Lewis. Tritium was synthesized by Ernest Rutherford, L. E. Oliphant, and Paul Harteck in 1935.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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