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(Ernest O. Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron) This member of the 5f transition
elements (actinide series) was discovered in March 1961 by A. Ghiorso, T. Sikkeland, A.E.
Larsh, and R.M. Latimer. A 3-Mg californium target, consisting of a mixture of isotopes of
mass number 249, 250, 251, and 252, was bombarded with either 10B or 11B. The electrically
charged transmutation nuclei recoiled with an atmosphere of helium and were collected on a
thin copper conveyor tape which was then moved to place collected atoms in front of a
series of solid-state detectors. The isotope of element 103 produced in this way decayed
by emitting an 8.6 MeV alpha particle with a half-life of 8 s.
In 1967, Flerov and associates at the Dubna Laboratory reported their inability to
detect an alpha emitter with a half-life of 8 s which was assigned by the Berkeley group
to 257-103. This assignment has been changed to 258Lr or 259Lr.
In 1965, the Dubna workers found a longer-lived lawrencium isotope, 256Lr, with a
half-life of 35 s. In 1968, Thiorso and associates at Berkeley used a few atoms of this
isotope to study the oxidation behavior of lawrencium. Using solvent extraction techniques
and working very rapidly, they extracted lawrencium ions from a buffered aqueous solution
into an organic solvent -- completing each extraction in about 30 s.
Lawrencium behaves differently from dipositive nobelium and more like the tripositive
elements earlier in the actinide series.
Sources: CRC Handbook of Chemistry
and Physics and the American Chemical Society.
Last Updated: 12/19/97 CST Information Services Team
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