Lanthanum, element 57, was discovered in 1839 by Swedish chemist Carl Gustav Mosander. The name comes from the Greek λανθάνείν (lanthanein), meaning to escape notice, to lie hidden. From William Brande’s 1841 edition of his Manual of Chemistry:

Another metallic oxide, which, as it has hitherto lain concealed in oxide of cerium, he designates Lantanum (λανθάνείν, to lurk).1

Lanthanum has the chemical symbol La.

1Oxford English Dictionary, lanthanum, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 13 October 2009,

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