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IYPT Elements

IYPT 2019 Elements 100: Fermium: Nuclear bombs and neutron bombardment

Element 100 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is fermium. Fermium’s discovery and name both have links to nuclear chemistry.

Fermium was formed and discovered in the radioactive debris left by the first hydrogen bomb test in 1952. Its discovery was kept secret by the US until 1955 due to Cold War tensions. When its discovery was eventually revealed, it was named after Enrico Fermi, the Italian-American creator of the world’s first nuclear reactor.

Fermium is distinguished as the heaviest element that can be formed by neutron bombardment of lighter elements.

Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry‚Äôs dedicated page.