The Greek word dysprositos (hard to get at) gives some indication of the scarcity of dysprosium, but only to a degree. It is about twice as abundant as uranium. The soft, silvery metal was discovered by de Boisbaudran in 1886 and it was finally isolated in 1906 by Urbain. A pure sample was not produced until the 1950s.
The pure metal oxidizes readily in air.
Contributors and Attributions
Stephen R. Marsden