Info on this fugitive
Silica (SiO2) in the form of sharp flints were among the first tools made by humans. The ancient civilizations used other forms of silica such as rock crystal, and knew how to turn sand into glass. Considering silicon’s abundance, it is somewhat surprising that it aroused little curiosity among early chemists.
Attempts to reduce silica to its components by electrolysis had failed. In 1811, Joseph Gay Lussac and Louis Jacques Thénard reacted silicon tetrachloride with potassium metal and produced some very impure form of silicon. The credit for discovering silicon really goes to the Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius of Stockholm who, in 1824, obtained silicon by heating potassium fluorosilicate with potassium. The product was contaminated with potassium silicide, but he removed this by stirring it with water, with which it reacts, and thereby obtained relatively pure silicon powder.