Iryna’s Californium Writing

Why-  Why is Californium important to our everyday lives?

Californium (Cf) is an Isotope that has quite the variety of uses.  Some of those uses include,  Providing neutrons for the establishment of nuclear reactors to then, get us electricity and power.  It acting as a neutron emitter to be used/tested  in physics, engineering, medicine, nuclear weapons, petroleum exploration, biology and chemistry.  It is also sometimes is used as a neutron source in detecting valuable gold and silver ores through a procedure termed as neutron activation.  Californium may also be used in neutron moisture gauges, machines that could disclose water and oil-bearing layers in oil wells.  We all had encounters with Californium in our lives before through electricity and/or power.


Who- Who were the people that discovered Californium?

Californium was first discovered in 1950 in Berkeley, California.  A small team in the University Of California consisting of Stanley Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, Glenn Seaborg, and Kenneth Street Jr.  Stanley was an chemist working in the University of California who discovered several transuranium elements.  Stanley Gerald Thompson (1912–1976) was an American chemist.  First there was Stanley Gerald Thompson who was an American chemist.  Second, was Albert Ghiorso who as a teenager built a radio system that got farther signals than the ones the military had used, and In 1937 he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Third, was Glenn Theodore Seaborg an American chemist that has either helped discover or investigate 10  transuranium elements. Finally fourth, Kenneth Street Jr. .  He first served in World War II as a fighter pilot and earned awards including the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Later on after the war he returned home to California and got a PhD in nuclear chemistry.


How- How was Californium made?

Californium was made by blasting helium nuclei (alpha particles) at curium-242 (transuranic radioactive chemical element) using a machine known as a cyclotron.  Curium is extremely radioactive and it took the team three years to collect just a  few milligrams needed for the experiment, but they didn’t even use all of the Curium that they had collected (only a few micro grams were used). Their experiment produced close to around 5,000 atoms of Californium, but they had enough of it to show how it could be a brand new element.


Part 2.

1) These are some of the questions I used:  How (how was Californium made), Why (why is californium important in our everyday lives), Who (who discovered Californium?), what were the scientists full names, when did they die, why was it names Californium, what are the people that discovered Californium also known for?, Is it a natural element?

2) I used some magazines on Gale Learning and I watched a lot of YouTube videos about the process and discovery of Californium.  It was more difficult to find the facts I needed on Gale but, I still managed to find some key information about the element and the scientists who discovered it.

3) The process I used was googling and searching for some basic, solid information I could use to dig deeper.  The Gale Magazines had mixed facts about my element and it wasn’t that popular to be that heavily focused on in facts.

4) I verified the facts to be true by checking multiple sources which, all had the same answers and made sense.  I used the trusted websites with the .edu at the end for the chemistry part and other websites to find more about the scientists.

5) If I could change something about my project is that I would next time choose a element that had a deeper and more interesting story behind it, and a older type element that had plenty of research done to it already.


  1 comment for “Iryna’s Californium Writing

  1. Mr. Robinson
    October 11, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    Good information fluency post. I like how you have found some great sub-questions to lead you to get a well-rounded perspective on your topic. You have shared some digital tools but didn’t cite your sources. Your debrief could have been more detailed but considers what you could have improved upon.

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