Student Dictionary

4 entries found for uranium.
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Main Entry: ura·ni·um
Pronunciation: yodot-primarystressramacr-nemacron-schwam
Function: noun
Etymology: scientific Latin; named for the planet Uranus, from Latin Uranus, name of the god of heaven
: a silvery heavy radioactive metallic element -- see ELEMENT table
Word History The ancient Greek word ouranos meant "sky, heaven." It was fitting, then, for the Greeks to name their god of heaven Ouranos and their muse of astronomy Ourania. In Latin these names became Uranus and Urania. Uranus was the father of the god Saturn and the grandfather of Jupiter. In 1781 the English astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered by telescope the seventh planet of our solar system. It was the custom to name planets after Roman gods. Following this custom, the German astronomer Johann Bode suggested the name Uranus for this planet. It seemed a good idea since the fifth planet was called Jupiter and the sixth was Saturn. Eight years after the discovery of Uranus, the German chemist Martin Klaproth discovered a new element. He called it uranium after the new planet Uranus.

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