The name of the element I researched was Plutonium. The symbol for this
element is PU and its atomic number is 94. The name is derived from the planet
Pluto. Plutonite is a silvery radioactive metal in the actinide series. The actinide
series are radioactive metals, with the atomic numbers 89 through 103. All these
members of the actinide series have chemical properties similar to actinium. The
elements in this series with atomic numbers greater than 92 are the transuranium
elements. Only two transuraium elements occur in nature, these are neptunium and
plutonium. They are produced in miniscule amounts by the decay of uranium.
Plutonium was first discovered by Glenn Theodore Seaborg, an American
chemist. He worked at the University of Chicago during World War II developing
the atom bomb. In 1951 Glenn Theodore Seaborg and Edwin M. McMillan shared
a Nobel Prize in chemistry for work on the transuranium elements. Seaborg is
codiscoverer of the elements plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium,
californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelvium, and nobelium. Glenn Seaborg,
Edwin McMillan, Joseph Kennedy and Arthur Wahl discovered, Plutonium at
U.C. Berkeley on the night of February 23-24, 1941. They found this plutonium in
the form of isotope Plutonium-238. This isotope was produced by the
bombardment of uranium with deuterons in the 60-inch cyclotron at U.C.
One of the many uses for plutonium is the production of nuclear energy.
The energy in the nucleus of the PU atom can be released through fission or
through fusion. In a fission reaction, a nucleus absorbs a neutron and becomes
unstable, then it splits into two nuclei, nearly equal in size. In fusion, two nuclei
combine to form one nuclei that is very heavy. Fusion occurs for very heavy
nuclei and fission occurs for the lightest nuclei.
A different use for plutonium is to power a nuclear