98. Californium - Elementymology & Elements Multidict

Elementymology & Elements Multidict

This site comprises 120 pages of text and photos, one for each element, and several pages for access. – For captions or explanatory texts move your mouse over illustrations, links etc.

Californium – Kalifornium – Californium – Californio – カリホルニウム – Калифорний – 鐦
Multilingual dictionary

Californium Latin

— Germanic
Kalifornium Afrikaans
Californium Danish
Kalifornium German
Californium English
Kalifornium Faroese
Californium Frisian (West)
Kalifornín Icelandic
Kalifornium Luxembourgish
Californium Dutch
Californium Norwegian
Californium Swedish

— Italic
Californio Aragonese
Californiumu Aromanian
Californiu Asturian
Californi Catalan
Californio Spanish
Californium French
Californi Friulian
Californio Galician
Californio Italian
Califòrni Lombard
Califòrni Occitan
Califórnio Portuguese
Californiu Romanian - Moldovan

— Slavic
Калифорний [Kalifornij] Bulgarian
Californij[um] Bosnian
Каліфорній [kalifornij] Belarusian
Kalifornium Czech
Kalifornij Croatian
Kalifòrn Kashubian
Калифорниум [Kalifornium] Macedonian
Kaliforn Polish
Калифорний [Kalifornij] Russian
Kalifornium Slovak
Kalifornij Slovenian
Калифорнијум [Kalifornijum] Serbian
Каліфорній [kalifornij] Ukrainian

— Baltic
Kalifornis Lithuanian
Kalifornijs Latvian
Kalėfuornis Samogitian

— Celtic
Kaliforniom Breton
Califforniwm Welsh
Calafoirniam Gaelic (Irish)
Calafoirniam Gaelic (Scottish)
Californium Gaelic (Manx)
Calyfornyum Cornish

— Other Indo-European
Καλιφορνιο [kalifornio] Greek
Կալիֆոռնիում [kalifoŗnium] Armenian
Kalefornium, ²Californiumi Albanian

— Indo-Iranian/Iranian
Kaliforniyûm Kurdish
Калифорний [kalifornij] Ossetian
Калифорний [Kaliforni'] Tajik

— Indo-Iranian/Indo-Aryan
ক্যালিফোর্নিয়াম [kyāliphorniẏāma] Bengali
کالیفورنیم [kalyfwrnym] Persian
કૅલિફોર્નિયમનો [keliphorniyamano] Gujarati
कैलीफोर्नियम [kailīphorniyama] Hindi

Kalifornium Estonian
Kalifornium Finnish
Kalifornium Hungarian
Калифорний [Kalifornij] Komi
Калифорний [Kalifornij] Mari
Калифорни [kaliforni] Moksha
Kalifornium Võro

Kalifornium Azerbaijani
Калифорни [Kaliforni] Chuvash
Калифорний [kalifornij] Kazakh
Калифорний [Kalifornij] Kyrgyz
Калифорни [kaliforni] Mongolian
Kaliforniyum Turkish
كالىفورنىي [kaliforniy] Uyghur
Kaliforniy Uzbek

Other (Europe)
Kalifornioa Basque
კალიფორნიუმი [kalip'orniumi] Georgian

كاليفورنيوم [kalīfūrniyūm] Arabic
קליפורניום [kalifornium] Hebrew
Kalifornjum, ²Californju Maltese

カリホルニウム [karihoruniumu] Japanese
칼리포르늄 or 칼리포늄 [kalliponyum] Korean
แคลิฟอร์เนียม [khaelifoniam] Thai
Califoni Vietnamese
[kai1 / hoi1] Chinese

Californyo Cebuano
Kalifornium Indonesian
Californium Māori
Kalifornium Malay

Other Asiatic
കാലിഫോര്‍ണിയം [kāliphōrṇiyam] Malayalam
கலிபோர்ணியம் [kalipōrņiyam] Tamil

Kalifu Lingala
Kaliforniamo Sesotho
Kalifoni Swahili

Californio Nahuatl

Kalifornyu Quechua

Kalifornimi Sranan Tongo

Kalifornio Esperanto

New names
Califion Atomic Elements
Supernovium Dorseyville
memory peg

Artificial radioactive element
melting point -- °C; -- °F
boiling point -- °C; -- °F
density -- g/cc; -- pounds/cubic foot
1950 Stanley G. Thompson and co-workers, Berkeley, Calif., USA
California, state of the USA

History & Etymology

First prepared in 1950 by Stanley G. Thompson, Kenneth Street, Jr., Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn T. Seaborg at the Berkeley Laboraty of the University of California by bombardment of Curium with Helium ions.

About the naming of element #98 Glenn Seaborg wrote in 1978 in his biographical article on Stan Thompson (note):

"Naming element 98 was not as straightforward. According to the actinide concept, element 98 is the chemical homolog of the lanthanide element, dysprosium. A little research showed that the name «dysprosium» was based on the Greek word «dysprositos» meaning »hard to get at.« Although element 98 was hard to get at, in the sense that work had been going on toward its synthesis and identification for some three years, there was trouble finding an analogous name.

The group, therefore, toyed with a rather long list of possibilities. We found a handwritten list of names in some of our old files that apparently had been under consideration for element 98: lewisium, cyclotronium, cyclonium, euprosium, nonactinjum, enneactinium, enactinium, lawrencium, radlabium, praedicium, accretium, colonium, californium. As you know, californium (Cf) won out, honoring the state and the university where the work was done. In a weak attempt to add justification by comparison with its homologous element, in the publication announcing the discovery of californium Stan and his coworkers added, «The best we can do is point out, in recognition of the fact dysprosium is named on the basis of a word meaning 'difficult to get at,' that the searchers for another element [Gold] a century ago found it difficult to get to California.»"


The following anecdote comes from Glenn T. Seaborg, 1990:

Upon learning about the naming of these elements, the "Talk of the Town" section of the New Yorker magazine had the following to say:

"New atoms are turning up with spectacular, if not downright alarming frequency nowadays, and the University of California at Berkeley, whose scientists have discovered element 97 and 98, has christened them berkelium and californium, respectively. While unarguably suited to their place of birth, these names strike us as indicating a surprising lack of public relations foresight on the part of the university, located, as it is, in a state where publicity has flourished to a degree matched perhaps only by evangelism. California's busy scientists will undoubtedly come up with another atom or two one of these days, and the university might well have anticipated that. Now it has lost forever the chance of immortalizing itself in the atomic tables with some such sequence as universitium (97), offium (98), californium (99), berkelium (100)."
The discoverers sent the following reply:
"«Talk of the Town» has missed the point in their comments on naming of the elements 97 and 98. We may have shown lack of confidence but no lack of foresight in naming these elements «berkelium» and «californium.» By using these names first, we have forestalled the appalling possibility that after naming 97 and 98 «univesitium» and «offium,» some New Yorker might follow with the discovery of 99 and 100 and apply the names «newium» and «yorkium.»"
The answer from the New Yorker staff was brief:
"We are already at work in our office laboratories on «newium» and «yorkium»! So far we have just the names."

California is the most populous state (37 million inhabitants) in the United States, and the third largest by area (423,970 km2). It is located on the West Coast of the United States, and is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the northeast, Arizona to the southeast, the Mexican state of Baja California to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Its four largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco (note).

The word California originally referred to the entire region composed of what is today the state of California, plus all or parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming, and the Mexican peninsula of Baja California.

Several origins have been suggested for the word "California", including Spanish, Latin, South Asian, and Aboriginal American origins. All of these are disputed.

The name California is most commonly believed to have derived from a fictional paradise peopled by Black Amazons and ruled by a Queen Califia. The earliest known application of the name to this island of the Amazons was in the romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, whose earliest surviving edition (but not first edition) is from 1510.

Sabed que a la diestra mano de las Indias existe una isla llamada California muy cerca de un costado del Paraíso Terrenal; y estaba poblada por mujeres negras, sin que existiera allí un hombre, pues vivían a la manera de las amazonas. Eran de bellos y robustos cuerpos, fogoso valor y gran fuerza. Su isla era la más fuerte de todo el mundo, con sus escarpados farallones y sus pétreas costas. Sus armas eran todas de oro y del mismo metal eran los arneses de las bestias salvajes que ellas acostumbraban domar para montarlas, porque en toda la isla no había otro metal que el oro

Know that on the right hand from the Indies exists an island called California very close to a side of the Earthly Paradise; and it was populated by black women, without any man existing there, because they lived in the way of the Amazons. They had beautiful and robust bodies, and were brave and very strong. Their island was the strongest of the World, with its cliffs and rocky shores. Their weapons were golden and so were the harnesses of the wild beasts that they were accustomed to domesticate and ride, because there was no other metal in the island than gold

Some suggest that the word California may signify that a place is "hot as an oven", because in Catalan calor means hot and forn means oven. (From the latin roots calida > hot, fornax > oven). Another possible source may be kali forno, an indigenous phrase meaning "high mountains" (note).

The name California is the fifth-oldest surviving European place-name in the U.S. and was applied to what is now the southern tip of Baja California as the island of California by a Spanish expedition led by Diego de Becerra and Fortun Ximenez, who landed there in 1533 at the behest of Hernando Cortes.

Further reading
  • Mary Elvira Weeks, Discovery of the Elements, comp. rev. by Henry M. Leicester (Easton, Pa.: Journal of Chemical Education, 1968), pp. 848-850.
  • S.G. Thompson, K. Street, Jr., A. Ghiorso, & G.T. Seaborg, The New Element Californium (Atomic Number 98). DOE-report. June 19, 1950. (Full text in PDF available on-line).
  • Earl K. Hyde & Glenn T. Seaborg, Transurane : Teil A 1, I: Die Elemente. Gmelins Handbuch der anorganische Chemie, Ergänzungswerk zur 8. Aufl.; Band 7a. Weinheim/Bergstrasse: Chemie, 1973.
  • Glenn T. Seaborg, "Stanley G. Thompson: a Chemist's Chemist." Chemtech 7 (1978), p. 408-413. (on-line).
  • Glenn T. Seaborg, Transuranium elements: A Half Century. Remarks at ACS Symposium to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Transuranium Elements, Washington D.C., August 27, 1990. (PDF-file available on-line).
  • Glenn T. Seaborg, Early History of LBNL, A transcript of the lecture on the 65th Anniversary of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 26, 1996 (on-line).

Sources Index of Persons Index of Alleged Elements