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What the name means: The meaning of the word sulfur (also spelt sulphur) probably originates from the Arabic word sura, meaning yellow. The Latin word for sulfur, sulphurium, also has the same root.
Who identified sulfur?: Sulfur was well known to the ancients as a yellow crystal deposit around the rim of volcanoes. The Greek poet, Homer, wrote about its insecticide properties. The Chinese were the first to use it as a component of gunpowder. It was translated in the English version of the Bible as brimstone (probably because it collects around the brim of volcanoes). It became associated with the Christian view of Hell as "Fire and Brimstone", since the interior of a volcano must have seemed like the gateway to the underworld.
It was proved to be an element in 1809 by the French chemists Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and Louis Thénard.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About sulfur: Yellow sulfur is found in volcanic regions as crystals and powder. It will only react with oxygen gas in the air of it is ignited first. Sulfur also occurs naturally as metal sulfides and metal sulfates. It is essential for life since it is needed for two amino acids (the molecular building blocks of proteins).
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