Which Elements Are Named After People?

Curium is named for Marie and Pierre Curie.
Curium is named for Marie and Pierre Curie. Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

There are 14 elements named after people, although only 13 of the names are formally accepted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

  • Samarium (Sm, 62) - The first element named in honor of a person. Samarium is named for its ore, samarskite, which in turn is named for V.E. Samarsky-Bukjovets, the Russian engineer who allowed researchers access to him mineral samples.
  • Bohrium (Bh, 107) – Niels Bohr
  • Curium (Cm, 96) – Pierre and Marie Curie
  • Einsteinium (Es, 99) – Albert Einstein
  • Fermium (Fm, 100) – Enrico Fermi
  • Gallium (Ga, 31) – both named after Gallia (Latin for France) and its discoverer, Lecoq de Boisbaudran (le coq, the French word for 'rooster' translates to gallus in Latin)
  • Hahnium (105) – Otto Hahn (Dubnium, named for Dubna in Russia, is the IUPAC-accepted name for element 105)
  • Lawrencium (Lr, 103) – Ernest Lawrence
  • Meitnerium (Mt, 109) – Lise Meitner
  • Mendelevium (Md, 101) – Dmitri Mendeleev
  • Nobelium (No, 102) – Alfred Nobel
  • Roentgenium (Rg, 111) – Wilhelm Roentgen (formerly Ununumium)
  • Rutherfordium (Rf, 104) – Ernest Rutherford
  • Seaborgium (Sg, 106) – Glenn T. Seaborg