The discovery of phosphorus, the first element to be discovered that was not known since ancient times, is credited to the German alchemist Hennig Brand in 1669, although other chemists might have discovered phosphorus around the same time. Brand experimented with urine, which contains considerable quantities of dissolved phosphates from normal metabolism. Working in Hamburg, Brand attempted to create the fabled philosopher's stone through the distillation of some salts by evaporating urine, and in the process produced a white material that glowed in the dark and burned brilliantly. It was named phosphorus mirabilis ("miraculous bearer of light").
Phosphorus is a chemicalelement with the symbol P and atomic number 15. It has a concentration in the Earth's crust of about one gram per kilogram (compare copper at about 0.06 grams).
From the perspective of applications and chemical literature, the most important form of elemental phosphorus is white phosphorus, often abbreviated as WP. It is a soft, waxy solid which consists of tetrahedral P4 molecules, in which each atom is bound to the other three atoms by a single bond. This P4 tetrahedron is also present in liquid and gaseous phosphorus up to the temperature of 800 °C (1,470 °F) when it starts decomposing to P2 molecules. White phosphorus exists in two crystalline forms: α (alpha) and β (beta). At room temperature, the α-form is stable, which is more common and it has cubic crystal structure and at 195.2 K (−78.0 °C), it transforms into β-form, which has hexagonal crystal structure. These forms differ in terms of the relative orientations of the constituent P4 tetrahedra.
IT common Compounds havePhosphorus(V) ，Phosphorus(III)，Phosphorus(I) and phosphorus(II)，Phosphides and phosphines，Oxoacids，Nitrides，Sulfides，and Organophosphorus compounds
Red phosphorus is in the material stuck on the side of matchboxes, used to strike safety matches against to light them. By far the largest use of phosphorus compounds is for fertilisers.
It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.