About Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a chemical element with symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidised state, as inorganic phosphate rocks. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major formswhite phosphorus and red phosphorusbut due to its high reactivity, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth. The first form of elemental phosphorus to be produced (white phosphorus, in 1669) emits a faint glow upon exposure to oxygen hence its name given from Greek mythology, meaning 'light-bearer' (Latin Lucifer), referring to the 'Morning Star', the planet Venus. The term 'phosphorescence', meaning glow after illumination, originally derives from this property of phosphorus, although this word has since been used for a different physical process that produces a glow.

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