Yttrium is pronounced IT-ree-em.
Just in case you were having a bit of trouble getting your head round that. That tongue-twister name comes from the village of Ytterby in Sweden, where it was discovered.
It’s a soft, silvery metal, that is almost always found in rare earth minerals and is never found in nature on its own. When chunks of yttrium are broken down into metal shavings yttrium is very unstable in air; these small bit of the metal can ignite in air at temperatures exceeding 400°C!
Yttrium is really important for watching TV! In the early colour televisions, yttrium provided the red colour. It’s also used in LEDs (light emitting diodes you may use in physics experiments).
Yttrium also has loads of other uses. It is used in drugs to treat certain cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, in camera lenses and to make microwave filters.
It is even used to make artificial gems!