Gadolinium (from the mineral gadolinite, named for the Finnish chemist Gadolin) is a soft silvery-white metal that is used as an alloying agent in some steels and in the manufacture of some electronic components.
Credit for its discovery is shared by de Marignac who did extensive spectroscopic studies on the mixture then known as didymia, and by de Boisbaudran who finally isolated the metal in 1886.
The metal has a very large capacity for absorbing thermal neutrons, making it an excellent material for control rods in fission power plants.
Contributors and Attributions
Stephen R. Marsden