Wikijunior:The Elements/Promethium

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Shows the position of Promethium on the periodic chart.
Promethium's symbol on the Periodic Table

What does it look, feel, taste, or smell like?[edit]

it is lustrous, and glows in its liquid form

How was it discovered?[edit]

Scientists had guessed that there an element with atomic number 61 existed many years before it was found. After a number of claims to have found it by different scientists, it was decided that promethium did not occur naturally. In 1945 the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States found Promethium during an investigation of the results of splitting uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor. They were too busy at the time (this was during World War II) to tell anyone about the discovery so it only became widely known in 1947.

Where did its name come from?[edit]

The first suggested name was "clintonium," after the laboratory where it was found but in the end "prometheum" was suggested after the name of Prometheus, the Titan, in Greek mythology, who stole fire from Mount Olympus. The spelling was changed to "promethium" to match the style of names of other similar elements.

Did You Know?

Where is it found?[edit]

It is now known that it can be found in tiny amounts in nature. It is found in deposits of pitchblende at a concentration of four parts per quintillion. That means that in 1,000,000,000,000 tonnes of pitchblende there would be 1 gram of promethium! In fact in the entire Earth there is believed to be less than 600 grams of promethium.

What are its uses?[edit]

Promethium is used to make small atomic batteries. It is also sometimes used to paint the hands and the numbers on the dial of a watch to make them glow in the dark.

Is it dangerous?[edit]

Yes it is very dangerous because it is super radioactive. it is radio active until it is refined, then it is safe and can be used in paper, sheet metal, X-rays, satellites, nuclear batteries, paint and watches.