nobelium

The first claim to have produced element 102 was made in 1957 by scientists at the Nobel Institute for Physics in Sweden. They claimed they had synthesized the element, which they dubbed nobelium, the previous year. From the 1957 Physical Review:

We suggest the name nobelium, symbol No, for the new element in recognition of Alfred Nobel’s support of scientific research and after the institute where the work was done.1

But the Swedish group’s claim could not be confirmed and they subsequently withdrew it. While attempting to confirm the earlier claim, however, a team at the University of California, Berkeley did produce a different isotope of element 102. The Berkeley group was given credit for the discovery and decided to retain the name nobelium.


1Oxford English Dictionary, nobelium, 3rd Edition, September 2009, Oxford University Press, accessed 27 November 2009, http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/00325509.

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