Plutonium, the first synthetic element to be seen by man

seaborg

On this day in 1941, Glenn Seaborg and his team discovered element 94, plutonium, at the University of California, Berkeley. “It was the first synthetic element to be seen by man,” Seaborg wrote in 1981, and “the first realization of the alchemist’s dream of large-scale transmutation.” Plutonium gets its name from Pluto (which was then considered a planet), since the element follows uranium and neptunium on the periodic table. The discovery of plutonium remained secret throughout World War II—scientists referred to it by the code name “copper.” On August 9, 1945, the US dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Source Physics Today

This entry was posted in Chemistry, This Day in History. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Plutonium, the first synthetic element to be seen by man

  1. Phil Krause says:

    Plutonium is no longer considered to be an element and has therefore been removed from the periodic table.

Leave a Comment (email & website optional)