Scandium is a chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

 with symbol Sc and atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 21. A silvery-white metallic transition metal
Transition metal
The term transition metal has two possible meanings:*The IUPAC definition states that a transition metal is "an element whose atom has an incomplete d sub-shell, or which can give rise to cations with an incomplete d sub-shell." Group 12 elements are not transition metals in this definition.*Some...

, it has historically been sometimes classified as a rare earth element
Rare earth element
As defined by IUPAC, rare earth elements or rare earth metals are a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, specifically the fifteen lanthanides plus scandium and yttrium...

, together with yttrium
Yttrium is a chemical element with symbol Y and atomic number 39. It is a silvery-metallic transition metal chemically similar to the lanthanides and it has often been classified as a "rare earth element". Yttrium is almost always found combined with the lanthanides in rare earth minerals and is...

 and the lanthanoids. It was discovered in 1879 by spectral analysis, of the minerals euxenite
Euxenite or euxenite- is a brownish black mineral with a metallic luster.-Chemistry:It contains calcium, niobium, tantalum, cerium, titanium, yttrium, and typically uranium and thorium, with some other metals. The chemical formula is: 2O6...

 and gadolinite
Gadolinite, sometimes also known as Ytterbite, is a silicate mineral which consists principally of the silicates of cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium, beryllium, and iron with the formula 2FeBe2Si2O10...

 from Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...


Scandium is present in most of the deposits of rare earth and uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 compounds, but it is extracted from these ores in only a few mines worldwide.