APR 17, 2015 7:37 AM PDT

New Data on Element Trigger Rethink of Periodic Table

WRITTEN BY: Will Hector
A little-known element called californium is making big waves in how scientists look at the periodic table.

According to new research by a Florida State University professor, californium is what's known to be a transitional element, meaning it links one part of the Periodic Table of Elements to the next. Why is that important?
Controversy remains over where the radioactive element lawrencium (and lutetium) should be in the periodic table: in the d-block or f-block.
Despite the fact that you may have memorized the periodic table in high school chemistry, there is actually very little known about the elements at the very end of the table. But, these elements are some of the heaviest and least understood chemical elements on the planet and information about them may prove crucial in the future as we look at how to store or recycle used nuclear fuel, among other things.

So learning what californium can or cannot do is a pretty big deal.

In a new Nature Communications paper, Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt found that californium is an element that helps link one part of the periodic table to the next.

It has properties included in the three elements before it on the table -- americium, curium and berkelium -- and also the three elements after it -- einsteinium, fermium and mendelevium. It gives the element unique capabilities that make it ripe for further research.

"This really changes how we think about the periodic table," Albrecht-Schmitt said. "It's important because we understand very little about these heavy elements. Governments and universities invest a lot of resources -- financial, time and intellectual -- into learning more about these elements."
Getting a piece of californium is no easy task though.

After years of negotiating with the U.S. Department of Energy, Albrecht-Schmitt obtained 5 milligrams of californium through an endowment to the university in honor of retired Professor Gregory Choppin.

Those 5 milligrams have been the subject of multiple experiments, including several last year that led to Albrecht-Schmitt's team discovering that californium had the ability to bond with and separate other materials.
This new round of experiments took almost two years to complete.

All the experiments were conducted at Florida State, but Albrecht-Schmitt worked with theorists and scientists from several other institutions including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which supplied the californium, and the Florida State-based National High-Field Magnet Laboratory.

(Sources: Florida State University; Science Daily)
About the Author
  • Will Hector practices psychotherapy at Heart in Balance Counseling Center in Oakland, California. He has substantial training in Attachment Theory, Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Psycho-Physical Therapy, and Formative Psychology. To learn more about his practice, click here: http://www.heartinbalancetherapy.com/will-hector.html
You May Also Like
DEC 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Novel Two-phased Particles are the Ultimate Authenticity Tag
DEC 24, 2020
Novel Two-phased Particles are the Ultimate Authenticity Tag
Counterfeit goods producers are flooding the global market with low-quality, sometimes dangerous merchandise and ripping ...
DEC 31, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Improving the efficiency of desalination membranes
DEC 31, 2020
Improving the efficiency of desalination membranes
Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and Penn State have taken a step toward developing a cost-effective d ...
JAN 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
JAN 29, 2021
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
The part of the universe that we can see, which includes our planet and stars, makes up only around a quarter of the mas ...
APR 01, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Solubility Factors When Choosing a Solvent
APR 01, 2021
Solubility Factors When Choosing a Solvent
Solubility Factors When Choosing a Solvent Solubility functions by a group of rules that determine how dissolvable a sub ...
APR 09, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
APR 09, 2021
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology have designed a new technique to enhance solar cell efficiency ...
APR 13, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
APR 13, 2021
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
Does the presence of oxygen mean the existence of life? That’s a question that scientists have been debating over ...
Loading Comments...