Chem Explorers

Unraveling Nobelium: From Discovery to Atomic Data

Unraveling the Mystery of Nobelium: From Discovery to Atomic Data

In the world of chemistry, the discovery of new elements is always an exciting and complex process that involves brilliant minds, cutting-edge technology, and years of meticulous research. One such element is Nobelium, a synthetic element with the atomic number 102 and the chemical symbol No. In this article, we will explore Nobelium’s characteristics, from discovery to its atomic data, while also highlighting its uses and interesting facts.

Discovery of Nobelium

The journey to the discovery of Nobelium started with early attempts to discover elements beyond plutonium. Scientists used various techniques, such as bombarding elements with oxygen or carbon ions, to create new elements.

In the 1950s, the first evidence of new elements came from the decay products of curium, which led to the discovery of elements like americium, berkelium, and californium. However, the discovery of Nobelium was marked by conflicting claims from two groups of researchers.

The Stockholm group claimed that they had detected the new element in 1957 by bombarding curium with nitrogen ions, while the Russian team, led by Georgy Flerov, claimed to have created Nobelium by bombarding curium with helium ions in 1958 at the Russian Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (Dubna). The Russian team named the new element after Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize.

The conflicting claims sparked intense debates and counter-arguments among the scientific community, which led to the involvement of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemists. Eventually, the IUPAC recognized the Russian team’s discovery and officially acknowledged it in 1997.

Characteristics of Nobelium

Now that we have gone over Nobelium’s discovery let’s examine the element’s characteristics starting with its name and symbol. As mentioned earlier, the element was named after Alfred Nobel, and its chemical symbol is No.

Nobelium-259 is the only known stable isotope of the element, with a half-life of 58 minutes.

The element has 157 known isotopes, with the longest-lasting one having a half-life of 58 seconds. In its pure form, Nobelium is a solid with a melting point of 827 C and a density of 9.9 grams per cubic centimeter.

When it decays, Nobelium forms lighter elements such as lawrencium. Regarding chemical properties, Nobelium’s oxidation state can be either +2 or +3.

The element’s electron configuration is [Rn] 5f14 7s2, with two valence electrons. Its atomic radius is unknown, while its ionization energy is estimated to be approximately 6.65 electron volts.

Uses and Interesting Facts

Nobelium’s short half-life makes its practical applications limited to laboratory research. Its most common use is to study nuclear and atomic physics processes, such as fusion and fission reactions, as well as the behavior of subatomic particles.

Due to the element’s radioactive nature, it is hardly used for commercial purposes. Japanese kanji characters were used to represent Nobelium before its official name and symbol were accepted.

This is because the element was first discovered by the Russian team, and their report was written in the Japanese language. Laboratories commonly produce Nobelium by bombarding curium with boron ions.

This method of production results in a minuscule amount of the element, which makes laboratory exploration of Nobelium a challenging process.


In conclusion, Nobelium’s discovery journey was a long and intense process, with conflicting claims and counter-arguments from two scientific groups that sparked debates in the scientific community. Finally, in 1997, the Russian team was acknowledged and credited for the discovery of the new element.

Nobelium’s physical and chemical properties make it a fascinating element for researchers, but its limited production and short half-life make its practical applications limited. With the continued advancement of technology and science, who knows where the study of elements like Nobelium could take us in the future.

Classification and Position of Nobelium

Nobelium is a synthetic element belonging to the actinide series of the periodic table. It lies in period 7 and group 3, which is also called the actinide series in the periodic table.

The elements in this group share certain chemical and physical properties, such as being highly reactive and having high melting and boiling points. Nobelium is located in the f-block of the periodic table, which contains the lanthanide series and the actinide series.

This block is known as the inner transition series because the elements in this block have electrons in the f-orbital. The f-block is located between groups 3 and 4 in the sixth and seventh periods of the periodic table.

This location allows the f-block elements to exhibit unique properties due to their partially-filled f-orbitals, such as having high magnetic and electrical conductivity.

Uses of Nobelium

Despite being a man-made element, Nobelium has no significant commercial uses due to its short half-life. It is mainly used for basic scientific studies, particularly in the field of nuclear and atomic physics.

One such use of Nobelium is in studying the fundamental properties of subatomic particles, especially the bonding and interaction of atoms. Scientists can use Nobelium to study the behavior of protons and neutrons as they undergo nuclear reactions in an attempt to understand the structure and behavior of matter.

Another use of Nobelium is in studying fusion and fission reactions, which are processes that release a tremendous amount of energy. These reactions may lead to the development of better energy sources such as nuclear power plants, which can provide clean and sustainable energy.

Furthermore, the study of Nobelium provides a better understanding of the properties and behavior of other synthetic elements. With the continued discovery of new elements, it is essential to understand how they behave and interact with other elements in the periodic table.


In conclusion, Nobelium is a synthetic element that has no significant commercial use. Its primary use is in studying basic scientific principles, such as nuclear and atomic physics.

Nobelium’s short half-life limits its potential applications, but its study will continue to illuminate the fundamental principles of the universe. As research in this area continues, we may see new discoveries that could revolutionize the way we produce and use energy.

In summary, Nobelium is a synthetic element classified in the actinide series, period 7, group 3, and the f-block of the periodic table. It has no significant commercial use due to its short half-life but is crucial to basic scientific studies in nuclear and atomic physics, mainly studying the bonding and interaction of atoms and the behavior of subatomic particles, fusion and fission reactions.

The study of this synthetic element will provide insights into the behavior of other synthetic elements and the fundamental principles that govern the universe.


– What is the atomic number of Nobelium?

The atomic number of Nobelium is 102. – What period and group does Nobelium belong to?

Nobelium belongs to period 7 and group 3. – Does Nobelium have any significant commercial use?

Nobelium does not have any significant commercial use due to its short half-life. – What is the f-block, and where is it located in the periodic table?

The f-block is a group of elements located between groups 3 and 4 in the sixth and seventh periods of the periodic table, specifically the lanthanide and actinide series. – What is the primary use of Nobelium?

The primary use of Nobelium is in basic scientific studies, mainly nuclear and atomic physics. – How does the study of Nobelium help in the development of energy production?

The study of Nobelium can help develop energy production by providing insights into fusion and fission reactions, major energy sources. – How does the study of Nobelium contribute to the research on synthetic elements?

The study of Nobelium provides insights into the behavior of other synthetic elements in the periodic table, thus contributing to the research on synthetic elements.

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