1950 Californium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

BerkeleyStanley Gerald Thompson, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso, Glenn T. Seaborg elements Californium


They bombarded curium-242 with helium ions in their sixty-inch diameter cyclotron at Berkeley, California, producing about five thousand atoms of californium-245 that decayed with a half life of forty-four minutes, and they named it Californium, having only a strained analogy to dysprosium’s “hard to get at.”

Atomic number 98

Californium-252 emits neutrons furiously, which hospitals use to bombard certain brain and cervical cancers, industry uses to analyze coal and cement in real time, engineers use for neutron radiography, prospectors use for field analysis of gold and silver ores, and the power industry uses to start nuclear reactors.

Naming rights

Here it says that I may name whatever I create and name it whatever I please. I may use my own names for things whose name doesn’t please me. Therefore, I can name them but I cannot force anyone to use the names I choose.

Peter van der Krogt has pointed out that all of the several origins of the name California are disputed, although it is common believed that the state was named after the Queen Califia and island of California in the novel The Adventures of Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The southern tip of the Baja peninsula, which had the name first, was originally thought to have been an island. The element, Californium, however, is not an island of stability. The fictional island of stability lies in only fictional elements much heavier than Californium.

See also in The book of science:

Readings on wikipedia:

Other readings:

  • Californium,” Elementymology & Elements Multidict, by Peter van der Krogt