Neil P: The Disappearing Spoon

Chapter 7: Expanding the Table, Expanding the Cold War

Synopsis

Chapter 7 is about the scientific discoveries that Glenn Seaborg and Albert Ghiorso made during the Cold War as well as the fierce competition from scientists from around the world. Berkeley scientist Seaborg quickly rose to fame when discovering plutonium, named after Pluto as it was the last synthesized. In the 1940's Seaborg and Ghiorso began to bombard plutonium with radioactive particles resulting in americium and curium. In the late 1940's Seaborg and Ghiorso discovered the elements berkelium and californium at the Berkeley National Laboratory (Kean, 2010).


Seaborg and Ghiorso made plenty of scientific discoveries using different methods such as pelting discovered elements with alpha particles. Seaborg and Ghiorso spent many years during the Cold War discovering new elements at Berkeley National Laboratory such as mendelevium, nobelium, lawrencium, seaborgium, and dubnium. Chapter 7 also discusses how elements such as fluorine and nickel were used to create other elements. Although the Berkeley Laboratory had great success they were still behind Russian and German chemists in the 1990's. The Russians had created elements darmstadtium, copernicium, roentgenium, as well as other elements (Kean, 2010).


During the largest expansion of the periodic table made by Berkeley relations with Russia were becoming fierce during the Cold War. Seaborg and his team at Berkeley were competing with chemists in Russia. Both countries not only in a race of arms but in a race for scientific discoveries. While each county was trying to falsify each others discoveries the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry decided to send a team of nine scientists to approve and select official names for elements coming from both labs. Elements such as dubnium, bohrium, and hassium. All though the Cold War was not known for the scientific discoveries, it drove each country to expand the periodic table used by many chemists all around the world (Kean, 2010).

Berkelium

  • atomic mass: 247

  • atomic number: 97

  • Group 12, Period 7

  • electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f8 6s2p6d1 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Berkelium is man made, less than a gram is produced every year. Berkelium does not occur naturally. It is made in nuclear reactors by bombarding plutonium.

  • Because berkelium is extremely rare, it does not have any commercial or technological use.

  • Berkelium was named after the University of California, Berkeley and discovered by Glenn Seaborg and Albert Ghiorso. It was named berkelium to show pride in America during the Cold War.

  • Berkelium is extremely toxic and radioactive. When it was first produced it was one-billionth of gram!


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Berkelium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/97/berkelium

Californium

  • atomic mass: 251

  • atomic number: 98

  • Group actinides, period 7

  • Electron configuration 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f10 6s2p6 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Californium was also made made, it did not exist in weighable amounts until 10 years after it was discovered. It is made by bombarding plutonium with neutrons.

  • It is a strong neutron emitter, it is used in metal detectors, identifying ores, and detects metal fatigue.

  • Californium is named after the state and University of California. Glenn Seaborg and Al Ghiorso named it after California for the pride they had in the state and university.

  • Californiums biggest characteristic is the ability to emit neutron. So this element alone can help start up nuclear reactors. It is highly radioactive.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Californium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/98/californium

Mendelevium

  • atomic mass: 258

  • atomic number: 101

  • Group actinides, period 7

  • Electron Configuration 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f13 6s2p6 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Mendelevium does not occur naturally. It is made by bombarding einsteinium with alpha particles.

  • Only small amounts of mendelevium have been created so there are no commercial uses. Different isotopes of mendelevium are being used to to find aqueous solutions.

  • Glenn Seaborg and Al Ghiorso at the University of California, Berkeley made 17 atoms of mendelevium in 1955 and decided to name it after Dmitri Mendeleev, the Russian chemist that created the Periodic Table.

  • Mendelevium is a synthetic, highly radioactive transition metal. It is the only element to be formed one atom at a time.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Mendelevium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/101/mendelevium

Nobelium

  • atomic mass: 259

  • atomic number: 102

  • Group actinide, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f14 6s2p6 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Nobelium was made in a device called a cyclotron by bombarding curium with carbon.

  • Besides using isotopes for scientific research there is no use for nobelium.

  • The discovery of nobelium is controversial. In 1956 a team in Moscow claimed to discover it, but they did not report it. Glenn Seaborg reported the discovery a year later. After debates and disputes the IUPAC decided the Russians discovered it first. It was named after Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.

  • Nobelium is a synthetic, highly radioactive metal. It is also toxic. Only a few atoms have been made. Its half life is 58 minutes.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Nobelium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/102/nobelium

Lawrencium

  • atomic mass: 262

  • atomic number: 103

  • Group 3, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f14 6s2p6d1 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Lawrencium does not occur naturally, it is made by bombarding californium with boron.

  • Other than scientific research there is no commercial use for lawrencium.

  • In 1958 the Berkeley claimed to discover lawrencium, and finalized in 1961. The Soviet Union in 1965 claimed that they were the discoverers and that Berkeley was incorrect. The IUPAC approved the Berkeley Laboratory. Lawrencium was named after Ernest Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, a device used to discover many elements.

  • It is a synthetic, radioactive metal. It is a ion in an aqueous solution. Lawrencium metal has not been prepared.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Lawrencium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/103/lawrencium

Fluorine


  • atomic mass: 18.998

  • atomic number: 9

  • Group 17, period 2

  • Electron configuration 1s2 2s2p5

  • Halogen

  • Fluorine is the 13th most abundant element in the earth's crust. It can be found in crust inside of rocks, coal, and clay. The main mining sites for fluorite are China, Mexico, and Western Europe. It is found in a compound with all the other halogens.

  • The French chemist Henri Moissan discovered it by dissolving potassium bifluoride in liquid. It was named fluorine after the root word “fluor” which means flow, because that is what it lets metals do.

  • Fluorine is used in toothpaste to prevent cavities. It is also in atomic bombs, surprisingly. It separates the uranium isotopes which makes it crucial for nuclear science.

  • Fluorine is the lightest halogen, and is highly toxic as well as highly reactive. It is also extremely electronegative.


Chemicool. (2012) Fluorine Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/fluorine.html

Seaborgium

  • atomic mass: 266

  • atomic number: 106

  • Group 6, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f14 6s2p6d4 7s2

  • Transition metal

  • Seaborgium was made by bombarding californium isotopes with oxygen nuclei. It is only made in labs and does not occur naturally.

  • Seaborgium is not made for commercial use. Only a few atoms of the element has been created but it is used for scientific research.

  • Seaborgium was discovered by Al Ghiorso and his team at the Berkeley laboratory in 1970. It was named after the famous American scientist Glenn Seaborg. Along with einsteinium they are the only elements named after living people.

  • Seaborg is very radioactive. It is also a synthetic metal. Very little is known about it and it is not used for much because only a few atoms have been made.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Seaborgium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/106/seaborgium


Chemicool. (2012) Seaborgium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/seaborgium.html

Dubnium

  • atomic mass: 262

  • atomic number: 105

  • Group 5, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f14 6s2p6d3 7s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Dubnium was artificially made by bombarding californium isotopes with nitrogen isotope nuclei. It does not occur naturally on earth. Not a lot of dubnium has been made in history.

  • Dubnium is radioactive so there is not much use of it besides being used for scientific research.

  • The first discovery was made by Georgy Flyorov in Russia in 1968, the Russians called it nielsbohrium, while the Berkeley team called it hahnium when discovering it two years later. Both named after famous nuclear scientists, the IUPAC officially named it dubnium, named after the location it was created in: Dubna, Russia

  • Dubnium is like most elements: a synthetic radioactive metal, it is also a super-heavy element also called a transactinide.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Dubnium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/105/dubnium


Chemicool. (2012) Dubnium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/dubnium.html#appear

Bohrium

  • atomic mass: 264

  • atomic number: 107

  • Group 7, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d10 4s2p6d10f14 5s2p6d10f14 6s2p6d5 7s2

  • Transition Metals

  • Bohrium does not occur naturally. It will most likely never be isolated in observable quantities. It was created by bombarding bismuth with chromium atoms.

  • Bohrium is highly radioactive so there is no use of it outside of scientific research.

  • In 1975 Yuri Oganessian from the Russian Joint Institution for Nuclear research discovered an isotope of bohrium and was successful, but the German Nuclear Institute discovered it again in 1981 and won debates on the right to name it. Later the IUPAC said the Russians were the first to discover it but the Germans had the right because their claim was more credible. It is named after Danish nuclear physicist Niels Bohr.
  • Bohrium is a highly radioactive metal that is synthesized.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Bohrium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/107/bohrium

Hassium

  • atomic mass: 277

  • atomic number: 108

  • Group 8, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p64f145d106s26p65f146d67s2

  • Transition Metal

  • Hassium does not occur naturally on earth. It is made in a laboratory by bombarding lead with iron atoms.

  • Hassium. like most artificial man made elements have no use in everyday life because of the radioactive energy it emits. It is used solely in research about of its various isotopes

  • The Russian Joint Institution for Nuclear Research team led by Yuri Oganessian discovered it in 1978. But the IUPAC gave the right to the German Institution, given their more reliable information. They named it after Hesse, the state where the GSI or german Institution is located.

  • Hassium is highly radioactive and synthesized.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Hassium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/108/hassium


Chemicool. (2012) Hassium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/hassium.html#appear

Darmstadtium

  • atomic mass: 281

  • atomic number: 110

  • Group 10, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p64f145d106s26p6 5f146d8 7s2

  • Group 10, period 7

  • Darmstadtium has unknown chemical properties.

  • Darmstadtium does not occur naturally, only a few atoms have been made by fusing nickel and lead ions together in a heavy ion accelerator.

  • This element has no use besides scientific research just like many other lab-made elements

  • Originally Al Ghiorso and his team discovered it but could not confirm their findings. Peter Armbruster at GSI synthesized isotope 269 and was deemed reliable and confirmed by others around the world. GSI named the element after Darmstadt, Germany.

  • Darmstadtium is a radioactive synthesized metal, only made in minuscule amounts.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Darmstadtium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/110/darmstadtium


Chemicool. (2012) Darmstadtium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/darmstadtium.html

Copernicium

  • atomic mass: 285

  • atomic number: 112

  • Group 12, period 7

  • Electron configuration: 1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p64f145d106s26p65f146d107s2

  • Copernicium has unknown chemical properties.

  • Copernicium does not occur naturally. It is made by fusing lead and zinc atoms in a heavy ion accelerator.

  • Copernicium does not have any commercial use. It is mainly used in labs for scientific research.

  • The first atoms were created by Sigurd Hofmann at GSI in 1996. It is named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

  • Copernicium is a very radioactive synthesized metal. Only a few atoms have been produced.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Copernicium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/112/copernicium

Nickel

  • atomic mass: 58.69

  • atomic number: 28

  • Group 10, period 4

  • Electron Configuration: 1s2 2s2p6 3s2p6d8 4s2

  • Nickel is a transition metal

  • Nickel does occur naturally on earth. It first came to earth on meteorite. A large meteorite landed in Ontario, Canada where 15% of the world's nickel comes from.

  • Nickel resists corrosion and is used for many things such as stainless steel pots, toasters, and electric ovens because of its ability to stay solid and uncorroded in high temperatures. It is also used in many U.S coins.

  • Nickel has been used for a long time, as soon as 200 B.C in China. In 1751 Axel Cronstedt was investigating a mineral from Sweden, he thought there would be copper but found nickel. It wasn’t until 1775 that pure nickel was isolated by Torbern Bergman. It was named after a mineral Cronstedt was looking for now called nickeline.

  • Nickel is malleable and ductile, as well as it resists tarnishing in the air. It is a conductor of heat and electricity.


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Nickel - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/28/nickel

Overall Summary

Chapter 7 was about the competition for discovering new elements during the Cold War. At first Glenn Seaborg had been paired up with a worker from Berkeley named Al Ghiorso. Al and Glenn found many elements during the Cold War such as seaborgium, californium, berkelium, and many more. They did this not only for showing the world that the United States were ahead of the science world, but rather for the love of science. They used the competition with Russia and Germany as a motivation toward discovering elements. The elements they discovered may not be used in our everyday life, but it is important to the world because it motivates us to find even more elements that exist. They were even more important in the book and to Glenn Seaborg along with his team at Berkeley. It was important to them in the fact that they could make their own radioactive element in which the could potentially use for energy. The world may not think of these elements as important, but the ability to make our own radioactive energy is extremely important.

Sources

Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Berkelium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/97/berkelium


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Californium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/98/californium


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Mendelevium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/101/mendelevium


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Nobelium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/102/nobelium


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Lawrencium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/103/lawrencium


Chemicool. (2012) Fluorine Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/fluorine.html


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Seaborgium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/106/seaborgium


Chemicool. (2012) Seaborgium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/seaborgium.html


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Dubnium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/105/dubnium


Chemicool. (2012) Dubnium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/dubnium.html#appear


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Bohrium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/107/bohrium

Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Hassium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/108/hassium


Chemicool. (2012) Hassium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/hassium.html#appear


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Darmstadtium - Element Information. Retrieved from

http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/110/darmstadtium


Chemicool. (2012) Darmstadtium Element Facts. Retrieved from http://www.chemicool.com/elements/darmstadtium.html


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Nickel - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/28/nickel


Royal Society of Chemistry. (2014) Copernicium - Element Information. Retrieved from http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/112/copernicium