Platinum Metals Rev., 1996, 40, (4), 181
The Discovery of Ruthenium
“I NAMED THE NEW BODY, IN HONOUR OF MY MOTHERLAND”
- V. N. Pitchkov
In 1844 Karl Karlovitch Klaus, then an unknown professor at the University of Kazan, reported his discovery of a new platinum metal which he named ruthenium, after Ruthenia, the latinised name for Russia. Besides studying the characteristics of ruthenium, Klaus conducted a wide ranging investigation of rhodium, iridium, osmium, and to a lesser extent, palladium and platinum. Thus, he may be regarded as the creator of the chemistry of the platinum metals, and the one who introduced the concept of the structure of the “double salts and bases” of platinum, which was developed some forty years later by Alfred Werner in his co-ordination theory. Klaus also discovered the similarities and differences between elements in the triads: ruthenium-rhodium-palladium and osmium-iridium-platinum, so providing the justification for Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev to include all six platinum metals in Group VIII of the Periodic System. Klaus's work thus marked an epoch in the investigation of the platinum metals, especially of ruthenium–the last one to be discovered.