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Chemistry of Californium

The fifth element in succession to emerge from the Berkeley, California cyclotron was element 98, californium (named after the State of origin). Credit for the synthesis is given to the team of Thompson, Street, Ghiorso and--of course--Seaborg (see element 106). Synthesis was achieved by bombarding Cm-242 with alpha particles. A neutron is ejected and a nucleus of Cf-245 results. The longest-lived isotope of californium, Cf-251, has a half-life of 890 years.

\[ \ce{^4_2He + ^{242}_{96}Cm \rightarrow ^{245}_{98}Cf + ^1_0n}\]

Contributors

Stephen R. Marsden (ChemTopics)