A Visit to Ytterby, Sweden, The Only Place in the World With Four Elements Named After It

In his Things You Might Not Know series, Tom Scott visits the Swedish village of Ytterby, the only place in the world with four elements named after it. The chemical elements yttrium, terbium, erbium, and ytterbium were all discovered in mineral samples found in a mine outside the village.

Yttrium, terbium, erbium and ytterbium were all named after one small town on the Stockholm archipelago. But it could have been different, and there could have been many other names. From a snowy bit of Sweden, and a mine that’s a historical landmark, let’s talk about discovery, chemists, and a man named Gadolin.