Element 74, the Wolfram Versus Tungsten Controversy

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Two and a quarter centuries ago, a heavy mineral ore was found which was thought to contain a new chemical element called heavy stone (or tungsten in Swedish). A few years later, the metal was separated from its oxide and the new element (Z=74) was called wolfram. Over the years since that time, both the names wolfram and tungsten were attached to this element in various countries. Sixty years ago, IUPAC chose wolfram as the official name for the element. A few years later, under pressure from the press in the USA, the alternative name tungsten was also allowed by ... continued below

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Holden,N.E. August 11, 2008.

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Two and a quarter centuries ago, a heavy mineral ore was found which was thought to contain a new chemical element called heavy stone (or tungsten in Swedish). A few years later, the metal was separated from its oxide and the new element (Z=74) was called wolfram. Over the years since that time, both the names wolfram and tungsten were attached to this element in various countries. Sixty years ago, IUPAC chose wolfram as the official name for the element. A few years later, under pressure from the press in the USA, the alternative name tungsten was also allowed by IUPAC. Now the original, official name 'wolfram' has been deleted by IUPAC as one of the two alternate names for the element. The history of this controversy is described here.

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  • IUPAC Inorganic Chemistry Division Committee Meeting; Helsinki, Finland; 20080811 through 20080812

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  • Report No.: BNL--81324-2008-CP
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-98CH10886
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936303
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc894250

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • August 11, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 1, 2016, 5:18 p.m.

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Holden,N.E. Element 74, the Wolfram Versus Tungsten Controversy, article, August 11, 2008; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc894250/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.