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Atomic symbol Rb
Atomic number 37
Classification Alkali metal
Atomic mass 85.47 amu
Other Information
Date of discovery 1861
Name of discoverer Bunsen, R.W. and Kirchoff, G.
Name origin From the Latin Rubidius, meaning "deep red"
Uses scientific research
Obtained from lepidolite, pollucite, carnallite

Rubidium is an element in the alkali metals class of the periodic table. It is so chemically active that it is never found free (in elemental form) in nature, and can sometimes catch fire on mere exposure to air.[1]

It was discovered by Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchoff, using their newly invented spectroscope. It (along with cesium) was identified by a previously unseen red spectral line in the analysis of mineral water from a German spa. The name comes from that color.


  1. Wile, Dr. Jay L. Exploring Creation With Physical Science. Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc. 1999, 2000