Seaborgium

Glenn Seaborg (1912-1999) was a chemist and winner of the Nobel prize. He discovered, or helped to discover, 10 elements, including number 106, which is named for him.

Seaborg was a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He also served as Chair of the US Atomic Energy Commission. He worked on the Manahattan Project, where he developed the extraction process used to isolate plutonium fuel for the second atomic bomb.

In 1980, he transmuted bismuth into gold, fulfilling the dream of alchemists throughout history. The technique is too expensive to be commercially viable.

He was also a pioneer of nuclear medicine. He considered his own biggest accomplishment to be his work on the Limited Test Ban Treaty. He influenced President Johnson’s administration to pursue the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Seaburg’s family name was originally Sjöberg, yet another connection between Sweden and the periodic table. Holmium is named for Stockholm, and four elements were discovered on the Swedish isle of Ytterby: Ytterbium, Erbium, Terbium and Yttrium. Johan Gadolin, who discovered Yttrium, was a Finn when Finland belonged to Sweden. Gadolinium is named for him. Cobalt and oxygen were both first recognized as elements in Sweden. Lise Meitner, part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, was born in Austria but lived and worked in Sweden. Meitnerium is named for her. Then of course there is Nobellium, named for another Swedish chemist. Also consider Thorium (after a Norse god) and Scandium, named for Scandinavia. Vanadium is a name from Norse mythology, and Tungsten comes from the Swedish for “heavy stone.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s