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General Info
Atomic Symbol Atomic symbol::No
Atomic Number Atomic number::102
Atomic Weight Atomic weight::259 g/mol
Chemical series Actinides
Vitual Nobelium.jpg
Group, Period, Block n/a, 7, f
Electron configuration [Rn] 5f14, 7s2
Electrons per shell 2,8,18,32,32,8,2
Electron shell nobelium.png
CAS number CAS number::10028-14-5
Physical properties
Phase solid
Density Density::unknown g/ml
Melting point Melting point::1100 K
Boiling point Boiling point::unknown
Isotopes of Nobelium
iso NA half-life DT DE (MeV) DP
250No syn 5.7(8) µs SF 246Fm, 250Md
251No syn 0.78(2) s α 8.62,8.58 247Fm, 251Md
251mNo syn 1.7(10) s SF
252No syn 2.27(14) s 75% α, 25% SF 8.42,8.37 248Fm, 252Md
253No syn 1.62(15) min α 8.14,8.06,8.04,8.01 249Fm, 253Md
253mNo syn 31 µs γ
254No syn 51(10) s 250Fm, 254Md
254mNo syn 0.28(4) s γ 254No, 250Fm
255No syn 3.1(2) min 61% α, 39% ε 8.12,8.08,7.93, 2.012 251Fm, 255Md
256No syn 2.91(5) s 99.5% α, 0.5% f 8.45,8.40 252Fm, 256Md
257No syn 25(2) s α 8.32,8.22 253Fm, 257Md
258No syn 1.2(2) ms SF 254Fm, 258Fm
259No syn 58(5) min 75% α, 25% ε 7.69,7.61,7.53.... 255Fm, 259Md
260No syn 106(8) ms SF
262No syn 5 ms SF
All properties are for STP unless otherwise stated.

Nobelium is the 102nd chemical element on the Periodic Table of Elements. This synthesized (man-made) element was first discovered in 1958, at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, when scientists bombarded 246Cm (Curium) with 12C (Carbon). Nobelium is characteristically a very unstable element with its longest isotope half-life being only 58 minutes. For this reason, nobelium does not exist in nature. Nobelium is also a radioactive element and currently possesses no practical uses outside of scientific research, experimentation, and study. [1]


The 10ft tall, 14 ton Gammasphere at Argonne National Laboratory helped discover the oval-shaped nuclei of Nobelium atoms.

Located in Block f, Period 7 on the Periodic Table of Elements is the 102nd element, nobelium. [2] This radioactive element resides within the Actinide series, which consists predominately of man-made radioactive substances. Nobelium has an atomic number of 102, meaning it consists of 102 protons. [1] This element also has 102 electrons and 157 neutrons as well as an atomic mass of 259. [3] However, due to nobelium’s unstable nature, none of its twelve known isotopes exist in any permanent form. Because of this short lifespan, nobelium’s density and boiling point are still unknown. [1]

While researching at the Argonne National Laboratory, scientists made a startling discovery concerning the internal structure of nobelium atoms. During researchers' analysis of gamma rays, which had been produced within a Gammasphere (a 10 ft. tall, 14 ton device that contains 110 germanium detectors, which are cooled by liquid nitrogen), they discovered that the nuclei of nobelium atoms were not shaped as traditional spheres, but rather as elongated ovals, similar to the shape of an American football. [4] Although some information, such as this, has been uncovered regarding the 102nd element, fairly little is known about nobelium. There is still a vast amount of information concerning nobelium that has yet to be discovered.


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (previously Lawrence Radiation Laboratory), the laboratory accredited with discovering Nobelium.

Nobelium does not exist naturally. This synthetic element forms only in minute amounts as a result of nuclear bombardment in laboratories. Nobelium possesses 12 isotopes with known half-lives who's mass numbers range from 250 - 262. These synthetic isotopes are extremely unstable with the longest half-life of any of these isotopes being approximately 58 minutes (259No). [1]


The first claimed discovery of the element nobelium came in 1957 in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, American, English, and Swedish scientists from the Argonne National Laboratory, Harwell Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and the Nobel Institute of Physics respectively, reported the discovery of a new element [5] while bombarding 13C into 244Cm by way of a cyclotron. This experiment synthetically created an isotope with a half-life of 10 minutes.[1]

In 1958, researchers at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley went back to affirm the Nobel Institute of Physics’ findings. However, their results differed from those presented the previous year in Stockholm. Instead of creating an isotope from 244Cm and 13C with a half-life of 10 seconds, the scientists were only able to manufacture nobelium isotope 254 from 246Cm and 12C with half-life of 3 seconds.[1]

A third party, at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia also became involved in the research and testing for the 102nd element. Just like the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, the Russian scientists were unable to duplicate the findings documented in Sweden. However, after extensive work, they were able to second the results from the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, which eventually received credit for the discovery of nobelium. [1]


Since nobelium does not form naturally on this earth and the amounts synthetically created in labs are minute and temporary, there are no known uses for nobelium. At this present time, nobelium offers no practical uses outside the scientific community. [1]

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Bernhard Nobel

The 102nd element was named in honor of deceased engineer, inventor, and chemist, Alfred Bernhard Nobel. In Stockholm, Sweden on October 21, 1883, Nobel embarked upon his brief sixty-three year life, during which time he created for himself an everlasting legacy that has inspired, motivated, and awarded people throughout the generations. [5] Known throughout history as the inventor of dynamite, torpedoes, mines, and ballistites, many consider Nobel to be one of the forefathers of modern warfare. After discovering a way to safely package nitroglycerin, Alfred Nobel was able to make a fortune by mass-producing explosives within his many factories. [6] Over the course of his life, Nobel obtained 355 patents from his explosives and other inventions. [5] In his will, Nobel bequeathed his fortune, approximately $9 million, to his Nobel Foundation. [6] The institution to this day is located in Alfred Nobel's native Stockholm, Sweden and continues to bestow the Nobel Prize to the world's most exemplary minds. For these reasons, when scientists at the Nobel Institute of Physics believed that they had created a new element they felt led to name it after their founder and predecessor Alfred Nobel. Although their findings were later dismissed and the true discovery of the 102nd element was given to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the American scientists chose to keep the original name, nobelium, in honor of a great man, Alfred Nobel. [1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Gagnon, Steve.The Element Nobelium Jefferson Lab. Web. Accessed October 24, 2011.
  2. Nobelium American Elements. Web. September 26, 2011. Author unknown.
  3. Facts about Nobelium Facts About… . Web. Accessed November 2, 2011.
  4. Nobelium Element Facts Chemicool. Web. May 31, 2011.Author unknown
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Peter van der Krogt. Nobelium Elementymology & Elements Multidict. Web. Accessed November 2, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 O’Neill, Daniel. Nobelium Carondelet High School. Web. Accessed November 2, 2011.