Nobelium Facts

This article talks about the discovery, and other facts of the element Noblelium. Read on to know more.
Nobelium is a chemical element that belongs to the Actinide series of the periodic table, and is placed between Mendelevium and Lawrencium. From its position in the periodic table, you know that it is a rare earth element. Like any other member of the actinide series, this is also a synthetic or man-made element. In other words, it is not naturally found on the surface of the earth, instead is produced artificially in laboratory. In chemistry, it is denoted with the symbol No.

History of Nobelium

In 1957, a team of scientists working at the Nobel Institute in Sweden claimed to have synthesized the element Nobelium. They achieved this by bombarding Curium with Carbon nuclei to obtain the element. They even went on to propose the name Nobelium (No) for their newly discovered element. Later on however, they withdrew their claim. In 1958, another team of physicists comprising Albert Ghiorso, Glenn T. Seaborg, John R. Walton, and Torborn Sikkeland from University of California at Berkeley, produced Nobelium by bombarding Curium with Carbon ions. However, they could not confirm the reports of the claim made by the scientists of Nobel Institute, but adopted the name and the symbol of the chemical element proposed by the latter. In 1992, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) gave the credit of discovering this element to the scientists at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions in Dubna, Russia. This was in spite of them having discovered the element much later in the year 1966. According to IUPAC, the Dubna scientists gave a confirmed identification of the element, and therefor were accredited for the discovery of Nobelium.

Facts About Nobelium

Like its history, there are some interesting facts about this element. Here's a look at a few of them:
  • The element gets its name from the renowned Swedish chemist, Alfred Nobel who discovered dynamite, and established the prestigious Nobel Prize.
  • Although the Dubna scientists proposed the name Joliotium with the symbol Jo for their discovery, IUPAC retained the original name Nobelium (No) as a mark of respect to the legendary scientist.
  • Sometimes, it is also referred to as Unnilbium.
  • Its atomic number is 102. As this is greater than 92, it is categorized as a transuranic element. Its electron configuration is 2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 8, 2.
  • Most data related to its chemical properties are based upon various research studies. As its outermost shell has 2 electrons, it tends to release those electrons to form a divalent ion in solution form. Occasionally, it is also known to have trivalent ions.
  • Nobelium is a radioactive metallic element with an extremely unstable nuclei. It has as many as seventeen known radioisotopes. Among them, the most stable isotope is 259-No, which has a half life period of just 58 minutes.
  • As it is extremely volatile, not much information is available about physical properties of this element. Even the physical appearance of the element is not clearly known. It is believed that it is likely to have a silvery-white or gray color. Unconfirmed reports of various research studies show that it has a melting point of 827°C.
  • The element is obtained from the decaying of heavier elements like Lawrencium, Hassium, Rutherfordium, and Seaborgium. Due to its high radioactivity, only a few atoms of this element are prepared.
So far, there are no known uses of this element, except for those related to important research. This synthetic element does not have any biological role either. As Nobelium properties are radioactive in nature, it is considered to be hazardous, and has to be handled with great care.