Gallium has a special place in the Periodic Table. When Mendeleev constructed his first Table, he left gaps and even predicted properties of some missing elements. Gallium was subsequently discovered in 1871 and found to have the properties he had predicted, thus cementing the reputation of the Table. The discoverer, a French chemist, Paul Lecoq de Boisbaudran named the new element after his native country, Gaul (France), but others alleged he had named it after himself, as Le coq means rooster and the Latin for rooster is gallus. He denied this. Gallium is unusual. It will melt in your hand (at 29.76 deg.C) but doesn't boil until 2204 deg.C, giving it the greatest temperature range of any liquid element. It is very soft at room temperature - more like modelling clay than tough metal! Gallium has become increasingly useful this century as it is used in electronics. Gallium arsenide and nitride are used to make semiconductors and blue/violet LEDs, so are found in modern devices such as smartphones and Blu-Ray players. Sources: Wikipedia, Brittanica, Livescience
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