Chemical Element: arsenic
(Latin: arsenicum, yellow; gold, golden; nonmetal)
Chemical-Element InformationSymbol: As
Atomic number: 33
Year discovered: 1250
Discovered by: Possibly first separated by Albertus Magnus (c.1193-1280), the 13th century German scholastic philosopher.
- Elemental arsenic may have been first recorded by the Greek historian Zosimus in the 5th century A.D.
- Pedanios Dioscorides and Pliny the Elder in the 1st century refer to auripigmentum, which was probably orpiment.
- Both observed the change in color and properties of the sulfide on calcining it.
- Some believe that Albertus Magnus, was the first to isolate and identify arsenic as an element.
- He noted the appearance of a metal-like substance on heating arsenicum (arsenious sulfide) with soap.
- Arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, solid-state doping agents, and various alloys.
- Arsenic compounds were mined by the early Chinese, Greek and Egyptian civilizations.
- No doubt they discovered its toxic properties early.
- It is believed that Albertus Magnus obtained the element in 1250 A.D. and obtained it by heating soap together with orpiment (arsenic trisulphide).
- Arsenic causes acute inflammation of the stomach and also affects other parts of the body.
- Its compounds have been used in medicines at least since the time of Hippocrates in the 5th century B.C.
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Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.
A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.