What is Einsteinium, the mysterious element named after Albert Einstein?
Why in the news?
- Scientists are conducting research to find some properties of element Einsteinium.
- Einsteinium is a chemical element, named after Albert Einstein, has the atomic number 99. That means an Einsteinium atom has 99 protons and 99 electrons. It is a synthetic element, so all isotopes are radioactive (property exhibited by certain types of matter of emitting energy and subatomic particles spontaneously).
- Isotopes can be defined as the variants of chemical elements that possess the same number of protons and electrons, but a different number of neutrons.
- Einsteinium-254 is one of the more stable isotopes of the element that has a half-life of 276 days. The most common isotope of the element, einsteinium 253 has a half-life of 20 days.
- Half-life is the interval of time required for one-half of the atomic nuclei of a radioactive sample to decay.
- It was found for the first time in 1952 by Albert Ghiorso and his team of scientists in the debris of the first hydrogen bomb explosion, and identified as an element at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Till now there has been no practical use discovered for this element.
Difficulty in managing with this element
- As it is not found in nature, scientists have to make this element.
- Because of its high radioactivity and short half-life of all einsteinium isotopes, the manufacturing process is very precise and intense. It is made in isotope reactors and produced in small quantities.
- The element is also not visible to the naked eye and after it was discovered, it took over nine years to manufacture enough of it so that it could be seen with the naked eye.
What are scientists set to study further?
- Scientists are set to examine how it bonds with atoms. By studying this atomic arrangement, scientists can find out interesting chemical properties of other elements and isotopes that may be useful for nuclear power production and radio-pharmaceuticals.
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