Origins of the Element Names

Lawrencium #103


Lawrence and cyclotronLawrencium (Lw) was created in 1961 by Ghiorso, Sikkeland, Larch, and Latimer by bombarding three micrograms of Californium with Boron ions.

115B + 25198Cf -> 257103Lw + 510n

The Lawrencium ions recoiled and embedded in a Copper conveyor tape which shuffled them to a series of solid state detectors.  8.6 MeV alpha rays provided evidence of the brief existence of Lawrencium.  The half life was about 8 seconds!

Lawrencium was named after Ernest Lawrence (1901-1958).  He was born in Canton, South Dakota, and studied in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Yale Universities.  He and Stanley Livingston invented the cyclotron at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1931.

(1934 photo of Livingston (on left) and Lawrence next to 27" cyclotron: source LBL)

Lawrence, Seaborg, Opy

Lawrence's synchro-cyclotron produced the first man made mesons in 1948.  His machines at what later was named the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory have been used to make artificial atoms.

Lawrence on right with Glenn Seaborg and Robert Oppenheimer in early 1946 at the magnet controls of the 184-inch cyclotron, which was being converted from its wartime use to its original purpose as a cyclotron.  (photo from Nuclear Milestones, AEC 1971, a gift from Seaborg to the author)


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created 23 January 2001
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