Volume 95 Issue 34 | pp. 30-34
Issue Date: August 28, 2017

Cover Story

A whole new world for rare earths

How the technologically important metals rose from obscurity to ubiquity
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: periodic table, rare earths, magnets, sustainability, phosphor, MRI

In 1965, this message appeared on a Holiday Inn sign in Ames, Iowa, to greet the attendees of the 5th Rare Earth Research Conference (RERC). Rare-earth chemistry was at a fulcrum point in its history. Previously, during World War II, chemists working in Ames at Iowa State University had played a critical role in rare-earth technology. As part of the Manhattan Project in 1942, the researchers developed methods to remove traces of rare-earth metals from . . .

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