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What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?
Manganese is a light gray metal resembling iron. It is a hard metal and is very brittle.
How was it discovered?
Manganese dioxide was used to color cave paitings more than twenty thousand years ago. It has been used in glass-making for a few thousand years. More recently, alchemists experimented with it. In the 1700s, chemists were aware there was an element in it that they hadn't yet identified. The element manganese was first isolated in 1774 by Johan Gahn, a Swedish chemist.
Where did its name come from?
In ancient times, a black mineral was found in in what is now modern Greece, in an area called Magnesia. The ore was used to make glass clearer. In the 16th century, a doctor, Michele Mercati, called the ore Manganesa and later the metal isolated from it became known as manganese.
Where is it found?
What are its uses?
It is in steel, batteries, and ceramics. It was found in cave paintings in France. Its atomic number is 25. Maganese-53 is radioactive, with a half-life of 3.74 years (the time it takes for half of the radioactive material to be gone). It has 25 protons and 30 neutrons.
Is it dangerous?
The human body needs a bit of manganese, but in such tiny amounts that it's almost impossible for anyone to have too little of it. Like most metals, it can be toxic in large amounts.