Chemistry of the Heavy Elements


RECENT work on the chemistry of the heavy elements formed one main topic of a symposium, organised by the Chemistry Division of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell, on behalf of the Chemical Society and held at Rhodes House, Oxford, during March 28–30. The discovery of the transuranic elements, neptunium, plutonium, americium and curium, has demostrated that a new transition series, like that of the rare earth elements, ariving from the filling of 5f-electron levels, commences ar some stage subsequent to actinium (atomic number 89). Any attempt to trace the chemical relationships between these heavy elements, and the elements standing above them in the Periodic Table, shows how fragmentary and inexact is the existing knowledge even of the chemistry of uranium and thorium, although the former was discovered by Klaproth in 1789 and the latter by Berzelius in 1828.


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J. S., A. Chemistry of the Heavy Elements. Nature 163, 983–984 (1949).

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