Hennig Brand (circa 1630-1692) is often considered to be the first person to discover an element. Brand discovered phosphorus in Germany in 1669 as he searched for the Philosopher’s Stone, the mythological, alchemical substance said to be able to turn any metal into gold. He made his discovery by distilling urine, which produced the glowing substance that he named phosphorus.
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Photo Credits / Sources:
William Fettes Douglas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons