einsteinium / fermium

Einsteinium, element 99, and Fermium, element 100, were first produced in 1952 by Albert Ghiorso and others at the University of California, Berkeley and the Argonne and Los Alamos National Laboratories. Because the discovery of the elements was prompted by findings from the first hydrogen bomb test,1 the existence of the elements was classified and not announced until 1955. Ghiorso writes in the 1 August 1955 issue of Physical Review:

We suggest for the element with the atomic number 99 the name einsteinium (symbol E) after Albert Einstein, and for the element with atomic number 100 the name fermium (symbol Fm), after Enrico Fermi.2

The chemical symbol for einsteinium is Es, not E as originally suggested.


1Ghiorso, Albert, “Einsteinium and Fermium,” Chemical and Engineering News, 2003, http://pubs.acs.org/cen/80th/einsteiniumfermium.html.

2Oxford English Dictionary, einsteinium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 25 November 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50072705; and Oxford English Dictionary, fermium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 25 November 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50083780.

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