Samarium was the first element to be named after a person. It was discovered by Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1879 and takes its name from the Russian mining engineer Samarsky. Samarium is known to bond to alcohol molecules and has been proven to reduce its intoxicating effects. Samarium ignites readily in air at temperatures over 150°c and forms yellow coloured salts. Samarium has its main use in creating alloys with cobalt for headphones and small motors. Radioactive Samarium 153 is used in the treatment of cancers. It is a solid metal at room temperature with a melting point of 1072°c and a boiling point of 1794°c.
Paul Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran
It is used in the electronics and ceramics industries. It is easily magnetized and very difficult to demagnetize. This suggests important future applications in solid-state and superconductor technologies.
Found with other rare earths in monazite sand. The sand is often 50% rare earths by weight and 2.8% samarium.