History of Discovery
Thorium oxide was discovered in 1828 by the
Swedish chemist Jon Jakob Berzelius (1779-1848), who is called "The Father of Modern
Chemistry." In 1828, Berzelius was given a mineral by the Reverend Has Morten
Thrane Esmark. After determining that it was a new element, Berzelius named his
discovery after the Norse God of thunder and weather, Thor.
Read one of the first
articles published about the radioactive nature of Thorium. Lord Rutherford of
Nelson in Philosophical Magazine, 1900,
Substance emitted from Thorium Compounds."
Lord Rutherford "found that thorium compounds continuously emit radioactive
particles of some kind, which retain their radioactive powers for several minutes."
Lord Rutherford noted "
another anomally that thorium compounds exhibit is the
ease with which the radiation apparently passes through paper."