Uranium


Uranium was discovered in the 1700\'s in the coal mines of bohemia and
Jachlovikna. Uranium\'s atomic number is 92, its Symbol is U and the atomic mass
of uranium is 238.0289. Miners called it Pechblende meaning, Pechblende, from
the German words pech, which means either pitch or bad luck, and blende, meaning
mineral Uranium\'s first full analysis was done on 1789 by Martin Klaproth, a
self-taught well educated german chemist. Klaproth, having extracted from
pitchblende what he called \'a strange kind of half metal\' (he had only isolated
its oxide), he resisted the temptation to give his own name to the new element,
which was quite customary at the time. William Herschel gave uranium its name
from the last planet founded in are solar system at the time, he named it Uran,
which in its final form became uranium, a name which today is known worldwide
while klaproth\'s own fame has faded. Uranium is as dense as gold. Uranium, was
first prepared with some difficulty, in 1841 by the french chemist Eugène
Peligot, using thermal reaction of tetrachloride with potassium. Later in 1870,
an important fact was established: uranium is the last and heaviest element
present on earth. This was demonstrated by Dimitri Mendeleev in his famous
perodical classification of the elements by chemical properties and increasing
atomic mass. Experimentation with uranium lead to many discoversies such as the
X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen, on November 8, 1895.

Wilhelm Röntgen, was awarded the first Nobel prize in 1901 for the development
of the X-ray. Uranium is weakly radioactive, decaying slowly but inexorably at
the rate of one milligram per tonne per year. It is transformed into inactive
lead through a chain of radioelements or daughters, each of which has a
characteristic disintegration rate, a constant of nature that man has never been
able to alter. The proportion of each radioelement in the ore is inversely
proportional to its rate of disintegration. Radium is the fifth radioactive
descendant in the chain from uranium to lead, its daughter is the gas radon, and
polonium is the last radioelement before lead. The discovery of Uranium changed
the world as we knew it, from its physical and chemical properties we came about
the X-ray, following down the line, chemists and scientists used Uranium to make
weapons of mass destruction, (i.e the Atom bomb).

References

1. Comptons Online Encyclopedia

2. Websters Dictionary

3. Merill, Physical Science book

Category: English