Do You Know What Decade These Elements Were Discovered In?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

The universe has drawn human curiosity for thousands of years, from when iron was first discovered and turned into tools and weapons to the past century with discoveries like nuclear power. So as a species, it's no surprise that humans want to continue to develop their understanding of everything within the universe as they try to explain even the smallest occurrences in nature. 

One of the most important parts of understanding the universe, of course, is finding out what everything in it is made of. The structure of the universe can be broken down into elements. Elements are the smallest components of the universe and cannot be broken down into smaller substances. This makes their understanding a vital part of figuring out the world around us. 

Are you a science whiz with a full understanding of the universe around you? How well do you know the various elements throughout that universe? Maybe, you know the function of the elements on the periodic table. Maybe you can even name every element from memory. But, can you name the decade in which each element was discovered? Here's your chance to find out!

If you're ready to put your knowledge of the universe up against a real test, get started with this quiz and prove that you are a science master! 

Known for being resistant​ to corrosion, when was titanium discovered?

Titanium has a strong ability to bond with other elements. Because of that, it was not individually isolated until 1910.


Named after its violet color, when was indium discovered?

Indium is a soft metal known for its silvery color. A simple metal to work with, it can be easily shaped or textured.


One of the key elements of water, during which decade was hydrogen discovered?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. In total, it makes up around 75% of all the mass in the universe.


Francium is one of the rarest naturally occurring elements. When was it discovered?

Though francium wasn't discovered until 1939, the element was predicted much earlier. In the late 1800s, scientists began to theorize that another alkali metal was out there, and it turned out to be francium.


A popular filler for balloons, when was helium discovered?

Helium is a sneaky element with no color, taste or odor. It is the second most common element found throughout the universe.


Discovered by scientists from both Russia and the United States, what decade was oganesson found?

The Lawrence Berkley Labs in California published a paper in 1999 announcing that they found element 118, oganesson. However, they had to retract the paper after their experiment couldn't be repeated.


A compound involving lithium was first found on the island of Uto in Sweden. When was it officially discovered as an element?

Lithium is not found in its natural form anywhere on earth because of its radioactivity level. Instead, the element can be found in other places such as mineral springs and seawater.


Neon was discovered by its red glow. What decade was it found?

Neon is a popular element used for lighting. However, it's also a good element for freezing and is used in cryonics.


A popular element used in cooking, when was sodium discovered?

Sodium is a necessary element for the human diet. In human cells, sodium regulates the fluid balance throughout the body.


Used for cleaning pools, when was chlorine discovered?

Chlorine was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. Chlorine was effective because it was both toxic and lighter than air. However, it was also easy to detect because of its smell.


Astatine is a rare, naturally occurring element found in the earth's crust. Which decade was it discovered?

Credit for the discovery of astatine has been given to scientists from the University of California Berkley. However, researchers in Germany discovered it separately during WWII, but the war kept them from getting the information out.


One of the heaviest chemical elements, when was flerovium discovered?

Since it's a relatively new discovery, there is little information about flerovium. For example, scientists have yet to determine its melting point or boiling point.


Found in the ashes of plants, when was potassium discovered?

A highly reactive metal, potassium is one of the most commonly known alkali metals. With an atomic number of 19, potassium contains 19 protons.


A deadly asphyxiant gas, in which decade was nitrogen discovered?

78% of the air we breathe is made up of nitrogen. However, we don't notice the nitrogen because it's odorless, tasteless and colorless.


Named after the German state of Hesse, when was Hassium discovered?

Controversy surrounded the naming of hassium after it was discovered because both Russians and Germans claimed to have discovered the element. The Germans ultimately received credit, and the element was officially named in 1997.


The last stable element to be found, which decade saw the discovery of hafnium?

In its purest form, hafnium has a bright, silvery shine to it. Once it oxidizes, the element gains a rainbow color.


Discovered in a mineral called argyrodite, when was germanium found?

After WWII, it was discovered that germanium had semiconductor qualities. With this discovery, the usefulness and production of germanium increased significantly.


Known for its horrible odor, when was bromine discovered?

Bromine is an important element in animal biology. However, it can also be used as a deadly gas, which is what happened in WWI.


An important element of breathing, when was oxygen discovered?

In its gas form, oxygen has no odor, taste or color. However, when it's turned into a liquid or a solid, oxygen becomes a pale blue.


Named after California, in which decade was californium discovered?

As with all elements that have an atomic number higher than 92, californium is a transuranium element. It is also the heaviest element that can be weighed.


Discovered by Japanese scientists, when was nihonium found?

At the moment, nihonium is not believed to be an important element in the biology of organisms. One reason for this is the high radioactivity of the element.


Found in human urine, when was phosphorus discovered?

Hennig Brand was the first person to officially discover a new element when he found phosphorus. Other elements were known at the time, but no one is credited with discovering them.


A major component in stainless steel, when was chromium discovered?

Stainless steal is widely used because of its resistance to corrosion. This resistance is due to the presence of chromium.


Usually taken from used nuclear fuel, in which decade was protactinium found?

Protactinium is an extremely radioactive metal that is toxic to animals. Of its 13 isotopes, none of them are stable.


Found in the ashes of seaweed, when was iodine discovered?

Iodine is commonly used to make various medicines. However, some people can develop an allergy to the element.


Copernicium is rare because it can only be created in a laboratory. When was it discovered?

Copernicium is named after Nicklaus Copernicus. Copernicus is credited with placing the sun at the center of the universe instead of the earth.


Named after Pluto, when was plutonium discovered?

Plutonium was discovered during the early years of WWII. However, since it could be used to make an atomic bomb, its discovery was kept secret until after the war.


Used to make ferroniobium, when was niobium discovered?

Scientists had a difficult time naming niobium because of its close association with tantalum. It officially received its current name in 1949.


Only found in nature when it's combined with other elements, during which decade was manganese discovered?

Around 90% of manganese is mined from manganese dioxide. Common in nature, it is important in the production of steel.


Found inside the bones of humans, when was yttrium discovered?

A transition metal, yttrium is one of the rarest elements on earth. As a pure element, it is never found in nature.


Named after Albert Einstein, in which decade was Einsteinium found?

Extremely radioactive, einsteinium glows blue when in the dark. It was discovered from exploding a hydrogen bomb in 1952.


Found to discolor when exposed to air, when was thallium discovered?

Because it's so toxic, thallium has been commonly used in poisons for rats and insects. However, it's also been used as a murder weapon.


Identified on the periodic table by a W, when was tungsten discovered?

Tungsten is a refractory metal, meaning it's highly resistant to heat and wear. Other refractory metals include niobium and tantalum.


An extremely soft metal, when was cerium discovered?

Cerium is an important element for those in the film industry. It is popularly used for lighting such as carbon arc lighting and projector lights.


Discovered as part of the Manhattan Project, in which decade was americium found?

Americium can be found naturally in minerals containing uranium. The element can also be found in nuclear power plants from the neutron bombardment​ of plutonium.


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