Spectrum tube used by Sir William Ramsay
Spectrum tube used by Sir William Ramsay, containing helium from cleveite, January 1899.
Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916) was a Scottish chemist who was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of the noble gases. In 1894 Ramsay successfully isolated helium from a sample of cleveite, a radioactive variety of uraninite. Helium is created in uraninite by the process of alpha decay and becomes trapped within the mineral. This spectrum tube was used by Ramsay in his research.