Gadolinium was discovered towards the end of the nineteenth century and named after the silicate mineral Gadolinite in which it can be found in traces. It shows unusual change in magnetic properties (ferromagnetic to paramagnetic transition) at 20°C, and has significant use as an additive in iron/chromium metallurgy. Fluorescence of Gadolinium(III) compounds is used in developing phosphors. Gadolinium compounds have very high neutron absorption capability and can be used as shields in nuclear reactors. The paramagnetic properties of Gadolinium have been used in clever design of 'contrasting agents' for recording MRI of human organs.
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