What is Californium?

If you have a knack for odd elements, this informative page is for you.

Californium was first synthesized in 1950 at the University of California, Berkeley. The scientists bombarded Curium with alpha particles to create a few atoms of Californium.

The reason nobody hears about Californium ever is because it has such few uses and because the going price tag for a gram of it is approximately $27 million. The few uses Cf has include neutron startup for nuclear reactors, treatment of some cancers, portable metal detectors, and other detectors for elements and explosives.

The military once thought that pocket nuclear weapons were possible with Californium because of its very small critical mass (the amount needed to trigger a chain reaction). It is also very lethal because it is a strong neutron emitter. The bomb is impossible to make because it could not be made to be less than 2 kg and the cost of it would be astronomical (think – one gram is $27 million).

Californium does not occur naturally on earth, but is prevalent as a decay product throughout the universe.

Another interesting fact is that Californium is the heaviest element that has been produced in macro-measurable amounts.

In all, Californium is strictly for the laboratory and if you should come across a gram of this in your daily life, consider yourself rich and radioactively poisoned.

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3 Responses to “What is Californium?”
  1. Brianna Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    WOW! Why would someone spend so much money for this element? Is it a true fact that one gram is 27 million dollars? ♥PEACE♥


  2. idk Says...

    On November 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Brianna is a homosexual


  3. Henrik Says...

    On March 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Californium is also used for well logging in the oil industry. Here Cf252 is used as a Neutron source for detecting the porosity of the formation being logged.


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