Fermium (symbol Fm) is a chemical element. It has an atomic number of 100, which makes it at position 100 at the periodic table. Fermium cannot be found in nature; it has to be made. Scientists can create it by combining plutonium with neutrons at very high speeds and temperatures. It is named after Enrico Fermi.
History[change | edit source]
Albert Ghiorso and other scientists at the University of California, Berkeley first discovered fermium. They found the element in the fallout from the explosion of the first successful hydrogen bomb test. This test was on November 1, 1952. In the fallout, scientists also discovered another new element, Einsteinium. Because of the Cold War, the US military did not allow the scientists to publish their results in a scientific journal. However, they conducted other studies and published their research in 1954. The studies of nuclear fallout were declassified and published in 1955.
A group in the Nobel Institute for Physics in Stockholm also discovered isotopes of this element before the research of the Berkeley scientists was published. However, most agree that the Berkeley scientists were the first to discover fermium.