Charles Hatchett

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Charles Hatchett FRS (2 January 1765 – 10 March 1847[1]) was an English chemist who discovered the element niobium.[2]



Hatchett was born, raised, and lived in London. On 24 March 1787, he married Elizabeth Collick at St Martin's-in-the-Fields, with issue including:

Hatchett died in London and is buried at St Laurence's Church, Upton, Slough, the same church where William Herschel is interred.

In 1801 while working for the British Museum in London, Hatchett analyzed a piece of columbite in the museum's collection. Columbite turned out to be a very complex mineral, and Hachett discovered that it contained a "new earth" which implied the existence of a new element. Hatchett called this new element columbium (Cb). On 26 November of that year he announced his discovery before the Royal Society.[3][4] The element was later rediscovered and renamed niobium (its current name).

Later in life, Hatchett quit his job as a chemist to work full time in his family's coach fabrication business.

Since 1979, the Institute of Materials (London) has given the Charles Hatchett Award yearly to a noted chemist. The award is given to the "author of the best paper on the science and technology of niobium and its alloys."


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