Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Palladium metallicum

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In 1800, the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston (1766-1828) made a partnership with Smithson Tennant for developing and improving the technology of platinum refining. These chemists worked for over 15 years in the treatment of South American ores.

The first step of the purification process was the addition of aqua regia (a mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids) to the mineral. The precipitate compound was then removed and the resulting solution was initially thrown away. However, Wollaston studied this solution leading to the discovery of Palladium, in 1803, and of Rhodium, in 1804. The discovery of Palladium was announced anonymously in a pamphlet in 1803, only two years later the discoverer revealed his identity.

This new element was named Palladium in honor of the newly discovered asteroid Pallas. This asteroid (diameter 538 km) was discovered by Wilhelm Olbers in March 1802 almost simultaneously with the element. It is the second largest asteroid and second asteroid discovered. Olbers named the asteroid after (Pallas Athene], the Greek goddess of wisdom. Wollaston's father, the Rev. Francis Wollaston (1731—1815), rector of Chislehurst, was an enthusiastic astronomer and had a private observatory. In 1811 he published a star atlas, A Portraiture of the Heavens. Also William H. Wollaston himself did astronomical work, he was the first, in 1802, to observe the dark lines in the solar spectrum. This may explain the naming after the newly discovered celestial body.

The 1911 Encyclopedia writes:

"In regard to Palladium his conduct was open to criticism. He anonymously offered a quantity of the metal for sale at an instrument-maker's shop, issuing an advertisement in which some of its main properties were described. Richard Chevenix (1774—1830) [also Chevenix Trench, Chenevix Trench, PvdK], a chemist, having bought some of the substance, decided after experiment that it was not a simple body as claimed, but an alloy of Mercury with Platinum, and in 1803 presented a paper to the Royal Society setting forth this view. As secretary, Wollaston saw this paper when it was sent in, and is said to have tried to persuade the author to withdraw it. But having failed, he allowed the paper, and also a second by Chevenix of the same tenor in 1805, to be read without avowing that it was he himself who had originally detected the metal, although he had an excellent opportunity of stating the fact in 1804 when he discussed the substance in the paper which announced the discovery of Rhodium."

"Pallas Athene, as we know, was the national divinity of the greeks and her latin name was Minerva. She was the protector of the state, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge, poetry, drama and the fine arts. ... The name Pallas was derived from to shake , and according to the Greek classical lexicon she was known to the Greeks as the 'brandisher of the spear.' her helmet was supposed to confer invisibility at will and her shield and breast-plate were made of goat skin, for the goat was sacred to the drama, the word 'goat' combined with the verb 'to sing', forming tragedy , or literally, 'goatsong'.
"Servius, the commentator on Virgil's Aenied, 1.43, tells us that Pallas was wont to shake her spear.'
"shake (her) spear (e); Shake-speare! Bacon's nom de plume derived from his tenth muse, pallas! ...
"The hyphenated spelling of the name was never used by the actor of Stratford-on-Avon, nor by any member of his family. Sir Edmund K. Chambers collected eighty-three variations in the spelling of the name in England, the large majority of which phonetically require the short 'a'. Not one of these eighty-three variations hyphenated the two syllables into the artificial-looking name, Shake-speare."