1961-1971 Lawrencium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Berkeley, DubnaAlbert Ghiorso, Torbjørn Sikkeland, Almon Larsh, Robert M. Latimer, Georgy Flerov, I. Zvara, G. M. Ter-Akopian, V. A. Shchegolev, V. L. Mikheev elements Lawrencium


In 1961, researchers at Berkeley bombarded californium having a mix of isotopes adding measures to remove lead and bismuth impurities with boron ions knocking reaction products into helium, stopped, and collected on a moving tape that passed under spectrometers. Between 1965 and 1970, researchers at Dubna bombarded americanium with oxygen isotopes knocking reaction products from a notched copper disk into argon, stopped, and detected granddaughter fermium isotopes using ion-exchange separation. In 1971, Berkeley conducted a series of experiments to measure the decay products of lawrencium isotopes to confirm the results of both Berkeley and Dubna.

Atomic number 103

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Trans-fermium Working Group decided in 1971 the Berkeley had discovered lawrencium even though Berkeley’s data was unconvincing, and decided in 1992 that Dubna’s data was more convincing and that, regardless, both Berkeley and Dubna had discovered lawrencium.

Tertiary effects

Like a professional saboteur, he has no permanent address. We know he’s been in town because machines at the factory are broken. If he had a step-child, and if his step-child had a daughter, she wouldn’t know what he did for a living. You could call it a living, or you could call it an infliction. All we know is that it leaves a toxic trail difficult to attribute to a cause.

At this point it seems that growing the list of transuranic elements served only a technical or academic purpose. The results show great ingenuity and teamwork, but have extremely limited usefulness.

See also in The book of science:

Readings on wikipedia:

Other readings:

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