Atomic Mass: probably somewhere around 262 amu, but it's hard to get enough of it on the scale for a really good reading
Melting Point: Nobody knows
Boiling Point: Nobody knows
Lawrencium, like June Element of the Month Einsteinium, is a fakey element. Except, Lawrencium is even more fakey than Einsteinium, in that the latter was at least created by humans accidentally, as a surprise bi-product of the great and heroic effort to create a weapon that could incinerate a city and all its inhabitants in a single go. With Lawrencium, by contrast, people actually sat down and decided to see if they could force a new form of matter -- an atom with 103 protons in its nucleus -- into being. And they could! Humans are kind of amazing.
Lawrencium is definitely an element in terms of having a discrete atomic number and a concomitant square on that big chart in the science classroom. It is definitively not an element in the sense of being a basic building block of the world around us. It doesn't occur naturally, after all, and it doesn't even occur unnaturally all that often. You could in fact easily slip all of the Lawrencium that's ever been made into your wallet, although that wouldn't be a good idea for several reasons. But it's a moot point anyway, because almost all of the Lawrencium that's ever been made isn't Lawrencium anymore. Even in its most stable form, half of a given pile of Lawrencium will radioactively decay into something else (generally Nobelium, if you must know) in roughly the time it would take you to watch Avatar.
|The four lead researchers who are generally given the credit for |
Lawrencium gaze proudly at a molecule of their new creation sitting
on team member Albert Ghiorso's index finger.
Despite the simultaneous research that the Soviets were conducting, Lawrencium is generally considered to have been -- what, "discovered"? "created"? "invented"? "designed"? "cooked up"? -- at the University of California in the early 1960s. Indeed, we will see the University of California mentioned a lot as we explore the fakey elements, for this institution was at one time one of the great centers of human knowledge and achievement, before legendary California Governor Ronald Reagan got his paws on it. "Cal," as it is affectionately known, is of course a member of the "Pac-12," a college football conference that was created by taking a naturally occuring conference, the Pac-10, and adding two additional protons. I would be remiss in not reminding you that the college football season opens on Thursday.