1952 Einsteinium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Berkeley, Argonne, Los AlamosAlbert Ghiorso and co-workers at Berkeley, Argonne, and Los Alamos elements Einsteinium


Very high instantaneous neutron flux in the thermonuclear explosion of Ivy Mike on Enewetak Atoll created numerous heavy actinide isotopes. Albert Ghiorso had theorized that in such an explosion as many as sixteen neutrons could be absorbed by uranium-238, decaying to transcalifornium elements. Ghiorso and his team analyzed materials gathered by airflights through the mushroom cloud and from fallout from the coral of a neighboring island. They separated the actinides from the lanthanides and found a 6.6-mega-electron-volt alpha emission from the actinide portion that was not associated with any previous element. The teams at the Berkeley and Argonne labs performed ion-exchange elution separations to show that the element with atomic number 99 had been created.

Atomic number 99

Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2, in describing the equivalence of energy and mass, suggested the potential of atomic energy; however, a nuclear explosion resulting in either fission or fusion doesn’t convert mass to energy in the sense that uranium or deuterium are converted to energy; instead, atomic binding energies are released as heat and electromagnetic radiation, and the mass, broken and fused, including atoms of einsteinium and fermium, is scattered.

Et al.

Albert Ghiorso, Stanley G. Thompson, Gary H. Higgins, and Glenn T. Seaborg at the Radiation Laboratory and Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, California, Martin H. Studier, P. R. Fields, Sherman M. Fried, H. Diamond, J. F. Mech, G. L. Pyle, John R. Huizenga, A. Hirsch, and W. M. Manning at Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinios, C. I. Browne, H. Louise Smith, and R. W. Spence at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, with thanks to H. F. Plank, A. Turkevich, D. F. Peppard, George Mason, John Maier, Richard Wallace, R A. Penneman, K. Street, Jr., W. W. T. Crane, L. R. Zumwalt, L. B. Werner, N. E. Ballou, I. J. Russell, N. B. Garden, Rosemary Barrett, and R. A. Glass.

Increasingly, discovery became a corporate effort. Each scientist with his or her specialization joined a larger team whose members preform many roles.

See also in The book of science:

Readings on wikipedia:

Other readings:

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