On November 1, 1952, the first thermonuclear atomic warhead was tested at Eniwetok atoll in the Marshal Islands group. It was a hydrogen bomb much more powerful than any simple atomic bomb. The test was successful producing a fireball that was 3 miles in diameter. The bomb left a crater 1 mile across and not much else, everything that had been there before being vaporized. A team of scientists from the University of California at Berkeley probing the ash residue of the blast did find one thing though. It was a new element that had never existed before on Earth. This new element was named after the man who’s theory had first predicted the possibility of such weapons, Albert Einstein.
On the periodic table of elements, you will find Einsteinium (symbol: Es) in the actinide series between Californium and Fermium. Its’ atomic number is 99, and the atomic mass number of the most common of it’s 19 isotopes is 253, but that is not saying much, because so little of the element has been created for study purposes. As far as its reactive characteristics little if anything has ever been ascertained but it is expected that it would conform to the paradigm of other trivalent transuranic actinide elements. Einsteinium is only found on Earth in manmade form, but may exist for a short time in the debris of supernovae explosions
Enough of this metallic element has been produced to determine that it has a silvery finish like other actinide metals. All isotopes of the element are radio active. The half life of the isotope of Einsteinium (E-252) exhibiting the greatest longevity is 472 days. Beyond this, very little has been determines.
Shortly after Einsteinium was discovered at Eniwitok Atoll, scientists at Berkeley successfully created a minute quantity by bombarding plutonium atoms with neutrons. More recently, the element has been made through long term (several years) exposure of Pu-239 to radiation in a nuclear reactor to produce Pu-242. The Pu-242 is then combined with aluminum and subjected to radiation in a reactor for an additional 4 months. The process produces small quantities of Einsteinium and Californium which can then be separated out.
The minute quantities of Einsteinium that have been produced have never been used for anything but as a seed material for creation of even heavier elements. Perhaps some day new uses will be found for the material, and then as larger quantities of it are produced it can be better studied.
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING:
Einsteinium, Wikipedia, Online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einsteinium