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1808, coined in Modern Latin by its discoverer, English chemist Sir Humphrey Davy (1778-1829), because it was present in the mineral barytes "heavy spar" (barium sulphate), so named by Lavoisier from Greek barys "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). The metal is actually relatively light.
barium bar·i·um (bâr'ē-əm, bār'-)
A soft alkaline-earth metal used to deoxidize copper. Atomic number 56; atomic weight 137.33; melting point 727°C; boiling point 1,897°C; specific gravity 3.50; valence 2.
A soft, silvery-white metallic element of the alkaline-earth group. It occurs only in combination with other elements, especially in barite. Barium compounds are used in x-raying the digestive system and in making fireworks and white pigments. Atomic number 56; atomic weight 137.33; melting point 725°C; boiling point 1,140°C; specific gravity 3.50; valence 2. See Periodic Table.