, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 1505–1521 | Cite as

Emergence of modern scientific discourse in the American continent: knowledge claims in the discovery of Erythronium/Vanadium in Mexico (1802–1832)

  • Francisco Collazo-Reyes
  • María Elena Luna-Morales
  • Jane M. Russell
  • Miguel Ángel Pérez-Angón


In the present paper, we study the discovery of the chemical element number 23, Erythronium/Vanadium (E/V), as an early example of the modern process of validating knowledge claims in México. We examined the published work between 1802 and 1832 of Andrés Manuel del Río (AMR) in the Royal Mining Seminar of México and contrasted the styles of argument and forms of certification between his teaching and experimental writings concerning his claim to the paternity of E/V discovery. We also analyze the respective papers of European authors that replicated, rediscovered and certified AMR’s finding. We use a combination of bibliometric, sociotechnical network and literary critical analysis in order to show that the certification of E/V spawned an emerging mode for producing and validating new knowledge in the American continent and particularly in México. In turn, this approach supports AMR’s claim to the discovery of E/V from the production process of the lead brown ore in Zimapán, México.


Modern science-America Andrés Manuel del Río Erythronium Vanadium Knowledge claims Science history-Mexico 



We acknowledge support from CONACYT (México); we also appreciate the collaboration of Gerardo Herrera in translating the German texts.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Collazo-Reyes
    • 1
  • María Elena Luna-Morales
    • 2
  • Jane M. Russell
    • 3
  • Miguel Ángel Pérez-Angón
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de FísicaCentro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPNMexico CityMexico
  2. 2.Servicios Bibliográficos, Unidad de Indicadores BibliométricosCentro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPNMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de InformaciónCiudad Universitaria, UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)Mexico CityMexico

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