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Science Innovation Centre · 100 · Fermium

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Fermium is a radioactive element and a member of the actinide group of the periodic table of elements. So far not enough fermium has been made to analyse its chemical properties, but predictions are that it would be a silvery metal susceptible to attack by air, steam and acids.

The eighth discovered Trans uranium element of the actinide series, Fermium was identified by Albert Ghiorso and co-workers in 1952 in the debris from a thermonuclear explosion in the Pacific during work involving the University of California Radiation Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

The isotope produced was the 20-hour 255Fm. During 1953 and early 1954, while discovery of elements 99 and 100 was withheld from publication for security reasons, a group from the Nobel Institute of Physics in Stockholm bombarded 238U with 16O ions, and isolated a 30-min alpha-emitter, which they ascribed to 250-100, without claiming discovery of the element. This isotope has since been identified positively, and the 30-min half-life confirmed.

There are no commercial reasons for fermium to be produced, but it might one day have some use in medicine.

Fermium does not exist naturally on Earth today but it has occurred in the past, produced in natural reactor deposits. Annual world production of fermium probably totals less than a millionth of a gram.