Element 103 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series is lawrencium, named after the inventor of the particle accelerator which made the invention of many of the superheavy elements possible.

Lawrencium can only be produced in a particle accelerator, so it’s fitting that it was named after the cyclotron particle accelerator’s inventor, Ernest Lawrence.

Lawrencium is also the first superheavy element to have credit for its discovery awarded jointly to American and Russian scientists. We’ll see a number of these elements shortly; while the discovery of lawrencium involved some squabbling over who had discovered it first, that was nothing compared to what would come later.

Because the two teams discovered the element separately, they both chose names for it. Lawrencium was the name chosen by the US team, while the Russians chose rutherfordium (which would later be used for the next element we’ll meet in this series).

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’s dedicated page.

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