Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: berkelium from Philip's Encyclopedia

(symbol Bk) Radioactive metallic element, of the actinide series. It does not occur in nature and was first made in 1949 by alpha-particle bombardment of americium-241 at the University of California at Berkeley (after which it is named) by a research team led by the US nuclear chemist Glenn Seaborg (1912-99). Nine isotopes are known. Properties: at.no. 97; r.d. (calculated) 14; m.p. 986°C (1807°F); most stable isotope Bk247 (half-life 1.4103 yr).


Summary Article: berkelium from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(bûr'klēӘm) [from Berkeley], artificially produced radioactive chemical element; symbol Bk; at. no. 97; mass no. of most stable isotope 247; m.p. about 1,050degrees Celsius; b.p. about 2,590degrees Celsius; sp. gr. 14 (estimated); valence +3, +4. Berkelium is believed to be similar to the other members of the actinide series and to terbium, its homolog in the lanthanide series. It is found in Group 3 of the periodic table. The 10 isotopes of berkelium that are known are all radioactive; the element has not been found in the earth's crust. Berkelium-247, the most stable isotope (half-life about 1,400 years), is difficult to produce; berkelium-249 (half-life 314 days) is more easily produced in weighable quantities and is used in studies of berkelium chemistry. Berkelium metal exists in two crystal modifications (see allotropy) and is chemically reactive; the chloride, fluoride, sulfide, nitrate, sulfate, perchlorate, oxide, and dioxide have been produced. Berkelium was the fifth transuranium element to be synthesized. It was discovered late in 1949 by Glenn T. Seaborg, Stanley G. Thompson, and Albert Ghiorso, who produced it by bombarding americium-241 with alpha particles in the cyclotron of the Univ. of California at Berkeley. Weighable quantities of the pure element were first isolated by Thompson and B. B. Cunningham in 1958.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article berkelium
The Penguin English Dictionary

/bəkeeli·əm/ noun a radioactive metallic chemical element that is artificially produced: symbol Bk, atomic number 97 [ scientific Latin ...

Full text Article berkelium
Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology

pronunciation A synthetic radioactive element having the symbol Bk, the atomic number 97, an accepted atomic weight of 247 (uncertain),...

Full text Article berkelium
Philip's Encyclopedia

(symbol Bk) Radioactive metallic element, of the actinide series . It does not occur in nature and was first made in 1949 by alpha-particle...

See more from Credo