85. Astatium (Astatine) - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

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Astatium Astatine
Astaat – Astat – Astate – Astato – アスタチン – Астат(ин) – 砹
Multilingual dictionary

Astatium Latin

— Germanic
Astaat Afrikaans
Astat Danish
Astat German
Astatine English
Astatan Faroese
Astaat Frisian (West)
Astat Icelandic
Astat Luxembourgish
Astaat Dutch
Astat Norwegian
Astat Swedish

— Italic
Astato Aragonese
Astatu Aromanian
Astatu Asturian
Āstat Catalan
Astato Spanish
Astate French
Astat Friulian
Astato Galician
Astato Italian
Àstat Lombard
Astat Occitan
Astato Portuguese
Astatin Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Астатин [Astatin] Bulgarian
Astat Bosnian
Астат [astat] Belarusian
Astat Czech
Astat Croatian
Astat Kashubian
Астат [Astat] Macedonian
Astat Polish
Астат(ин) [Astat(in)] Russian
Astat Slovak
Astat Slovenian
Астат [Astat] Serbian
Астат [astat] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Astatinas Lithuanian
Astats Latvian
Astatis Samogitian

— Celtic
Astat Breton
Astatin Welsh
Astaitín Gaelic (Irish)
Astaitain Gaelic (Scottish)
Astaçheen Gaelic (Manx)
Astatyn Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Αστατο [astato] Greek
Աստատ [astat] Armenian
Astat[i] Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Astatin Kurdish
Астат(ин) [astat(in)] Ossetian
Астат [Astat] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
অ্যাস্টাটিন [ayāsṭāṭina] Bengali
آستاتین [âstatyn] Persian
ઍસ્ટેટીનનો [esṭeṭīnano] Gujarati
एस्टाटिन [esṭāaṭina] Hindi

Astaat Estonian
Astatiini Finnish
Asztácium Hungarian
Астат [Astat] Komi
Астат [Astat] Mari
Астата [astata] Moksha
Astaat Võro

Astat Azerbaijani
Астат [Astat] Chuvash
Астатин [astatin] Kazakh
Астатин [Astatin] Kyrgyz
Астат [astat] Mongolian
Asatatin Turkish
ئاستاتىن ['astatin] Uyghur
Astat Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Astatoa Basque
ასტატი [astati] Georgian

استاتين [astātīn] Arabic
אסטטין [astatin] Hebrew
Astatin, ²Astatu Maltese

Ngo (砈) Hakka
アスタチン [asutachin] Japanese
아스타틴 [aseutatin] Korean
แอสทาทีน [aesthāthīn] Thai
Astatin Vietnamese
[ai4 / ngaai6] Chinese

Astato Cebuano
Astatin Indonesian
Astatine Māori
Astatin Malay

Other Asiatic
ആസ്റ്ററ്റീന്‍ [āsṟṟaṟṟīn] Malayalam
அஸ்தாதைன் [astātaiṉ] Tamil

Atati Lingala
Astatine Sesotho
Astatini Swahili

Astato Nahuatl

Astatu Quechua

Astatimi Sranan Tongo

Astato Esperanto

New names
Astaton Atomic Elements
Coromacsegrium Dorseyville
memory peg

Radioactive halogen
melting point 302 °C; 576 °F
boiling point 337 °C; 639 °F
density g/cc; pounds/cubic foot
1940 Dale R. Corson, Kenneth R. Mackenzie, and Emilio Segrè, United States (California)
αστατος (astatos) = unstable (Greek)

History & Etymology

The element was first characterized in 1940 by Dale R. Corson (1914-), Kenneth R. Mackenzie (1912-2002), and Emilio Segrè (1905-1989), who synthesized the isotope 211At by bombarding Bismuth with alpha particles. They observed chemical behavior somewhat similar to that of other halogens. They have named the new element Astatine, from the Greek αστατος [astatos] = restless, unstable, because the element has no stable isotopes; and the suffix -ine because that is usual for halogens (note). If one succeeds in producing the element, the instability is very clear. The isotope 211At has a half life on only 8.3 hours.

The existence of element #85 was predicted by Д.И. Менделеев (D.I. Mendeleyev) and named by him Eka-Iodine. It was obvious that it must possess interesting properties: the activity of halogens, combined with metallic properties as its neighbour Polonium. Therefore from the end of the 19th century searches were done for this element in different minerals. Especially after in 1920 the German chemist E. Wagner drew again attention to the still hypothetical fifth member of the group of halogens, asserting that this element must be radioactive, the search was intensified. Several times appeared reports about its discovery, however, since we know now that all isotopes of element #85 are highly radioactive, and the amount present in nature is very small, it is clear that these early reports must be erroneous.

From 1925 through 1943 six reports were published on the discovery of element #85. The authors of the imaginary discoveries gave different names to it (note):

  • 1931: Alabamium, Alabamine (Ab). In May 1931 Fred Allison and Edgar J. Murphy, with assistance of Edna R. Bishop and Anna L. Sommer, of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn, Ala.) reported that he succeeded in obtaining 0,000002 grams of element #85 in monazite. They named it after the state of Alabama (note). Under this name element #85 figured in textbooks and reference works to 1947. Also mentioned as Alabamium (Am) (note).
  • 1937: Dakin (Dacinum?). Searching for a member of the Thorium radioactive family, the chemist Rajendralal De, in Dacca (India, nowadays Bangladesh), found two new elements, the first he named Dakin (Eka-Iodine), the other Gourium (note). It is written that it is named after Dacia, the Roman province in Southeastern Europe, but, seen the discoverer, it is more likely that it is named after Dacca.
  • 1939/44 Dor (Do): In 1939 Horia Hulubei (1896-1972) and Yvette Cauchois (1908-1999) observed unknown lines in the emission spectrum of radon, which they attributed to element 85. Hulubei soon announced the discovery but it required many years and hard work before he could complete the spectroscopic identification. Moreover, he had to escape from the Nazi conquest of Paris, then he lost part of his equipment in the fire following the American bombardment of Bucharest on April 15, 1944. In October 1944 he reported: "Now that we have a quasi-certainty that our research and assertions of 1939, on natural elements of atomic number 85 are right, we want to propose a name for this box of the periodic system, that with the case or the confirmation of these experiments would be final and priority of our work officellement [officially?] allowed. We will decided to call it Dor (Do) this element. The element had been identified for this period of atrocious suffering for humanity. The name would like, by its significance in Rumanian, rappeller a burning desire so that the moment comes where peace will end most odious wars than the history knew". (note).
  • 1940: Helvetium (Hv). Suggested by the Swiss physicist Walter Minder (1905-), who observed an extremely weak b decay of RaA. For this purpose he connected a couple of ionisation chambers with an electrometer. Chemical tests confirmed the analogies of this element with iodine. Minder named it, Helvetium, and symbol Hv, after the Latin name for Switzerland. A question of priority arose between him and Hulubei (note).
  • 1942: Anglohelvetium (Ah). Minder went on with his researches and two years later, with his colleague, Alice Leigh-Smith, surprisingly repeated the announcement of the discovery of eka-iodine, this time named Anglohelvetium, combination of Anglia (Latin for England) and Helvetia (Latin for Switzerland) (note1) (note2).
  • Leptin (from the Greek - weak, unsteady, deprived.

John and Gordon Marks suggested in 1994 the name Therine (Θe) after Thera, the unstable volcanic isle of classical mythology (at present Thira or Santorini). The Marks brothers found the old names ugly and confusing. They offered alternative names that are equivalent contemporary (at the time and place of discovery) metaphors, both more euphonious and more memorable (note).

Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, "The Discovery of the Elements, XX: Recently Discovered Elements." Journal of Chemical Education 10 (1933), pp. 161-170.
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 837-838.

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements