Ruthenium is a hard silvery white metal at room temperature. It is a member of the platinum group metals.
Ruthenium was discovered in 1844 by Karl Karlovich Klaus who isolated it from crude platinum. The name Ruthenium is derived from Ruthenia, Latin for Russia.
There are reports that the Polish chemist Jedrzej Sniadecki discovered Ruthenium in 1807, however, he withdrew claims of discovering a new element. If he had in fact discovered it, Ruthenium may well have been known as Vestium, the name that Sniadecki used in his withdrawn claim.
Ruthenium is very rare and is found as a metal in association other platinum group metals such as platinum, osmium and iridium. It is most commonly recovered along with nickel.