It's interesting to note that most of the elements named after famous people are recently discovered. It appears that this trend will continue as more elements are artificially synthesized. Before the names of the elements were assigned to honor scientists, names were derived from Greek and Latin and the names of towns and regions. With this trend, it is likely that the recently discovered unnamed elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118 will also be named after people. Also, only two elements are named after female scientists, Meitnerium and Curium. Meitner's elemental namesake is unshared with any male figure.
ATOMIC MASS Name (Symbol)
62 Samarium (Sm) - Discovered in 1879. Named for Vasili Samarsky-Bykhovets, the first person to have an element named after himself, was a 19th century Russian mining engineer.
64 Gadolinium (Gd) - Discovered in 1880. Named after Johan Gadolin, a Finnish chemist and the discoverer of yttrium (Y).
96 Curium (Cm) - Discovered in 1944 by another element's namesake, Glenn Seaborg, Curium is named for Nobel prize winners Marie and Pierre Curie for their work in radioactivity.Curium and Meitnerium are the only elements named after a female scientist.
99 Einsteinium (Es) - IVY MIKE, the codename for the first test of the hydrogen bomb led to the discovery of two new elements in 1952, Einsteinium and Fermium. Both elements are named after people, Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi.
100 Fermium (Fm) - Named for Enrico Fermi, a pioneer of nuclear physics, Fermium was discovered in 1952 following the first test of the hydrogen bomb.
101 Mendelevium (Md) - Discovered in 1955. Named for Dmitri Mendeleev, the first to organize the periodic table.
102 Nobelium (No) - Discovered in 1966.Named for Alfred Nobel, chemist, inventor of dynamite and used his will to institute the Nobel Prizes upon his death.
103 Lawrencium (Lw) - Discovered in 1961. Named for Ernest Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron and contributor to the Manhattan Project.
104 Rutherfordium (Rf) - Named for Ernest Rutherford (A.K.A. Lord Rutherford of Nelson), Nobel Prize winning physicist who developed the concept of half-life, and first to name alpha and beta particles. Discovered in 1964.
106 Seaborgium (Sg) - Discovered in 1974. Seaborgium is named for Glenn T. Seaborg, Nobel prize winning chemist who was the first to arrange the actinide series and was involved in the discovery of 10 radioactive elements.
107 Bohrium (Bh) - Discovered in 1981. The namesake is for Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, known as the father of quantum physics/chemistry. Also a Nobel Prize winner.
109 Meitnerium (Mt) - Named for Lise Meitner and discovered in 1982, Meitnerium is the only element named solely after a woman. Curium officially shares the name with Pierre Curie, Marie's husband.
111 Roentgenium (Rg) - Discovered in 1994. Named after Wilhelm Rontgen, discoverer of x-rays.
112 Copernicium (Cn)- Discovered in 1996 and named for Nicolaus Copernicus, introduced the notion of a heliocentric model of the universe.
114 Flerovium (Fl) - Discovered in 1999, the name Flerovium honors Soviet physicist Georgy Flyorov who was partially responsible for the discovery of spontaneous fission and initiating the nuclear program of the Soviet Union.
116 Livermorium (Lv) - Discovered in 2000 and indirectly named after a person. Officially, the element is named after the Lawrence-Livermore National Laboratory which got its name from Livermore, California--which is named after wealthy English-American rancher, Robert Livermore.
16 Elements Named After People
Lise Meitner - the only female scientist to have an element named after herself, Meitnerium (Mt). Marie Curie shares the honor with her husband, Pierre, who was included in the naming proposal to IUPAC for Curium (Cm).