Physical Insights

An independent scientist’s observations on society, technology, energy, science and the environment. “Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Many passengers would rather have stayed home.” – Carl Sagan

More nonsense nuclides in the media.

with 3 comments

An Armenian citizen was arrested while attempting to smuggle 2.04 grams of a radioactive substance, Lawrencium-103, from Georgia into Turkey, the Georgian Border Police said on October 26.

It said three companions – also Armenian citizens – were also arrested.

I would think that merely creating and accumulating 2 g of any isotope of Lawrencium would be quite an accomplishment! Visible quantities of the metal have never been created, and the chemical properties of the element have only been studied on the scale of a few atoms!

The keen reader will note that Lawrencium has atomic number 103 – this is probably where the “Lawrencium-103” nonsense comes from.

Its most stable isotope is 262Lr, with a half-life of approximately 4 hours. It has no practical applications.


Written by Luke Weston

December 5, 2007 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Even so, anything -103 is either stable Rh-103 or short lived, at most a few weeks for Ru-103 and Pd-103.


    December 6, 2007 at 3:02 am

  2. How much radiation education did you get in high school? Likely little or none. Even in college, unless you go into physics it is unlikely that you got any radiation education. Most journalists get absolutely zero education about radiation. They are may or may not be stupid, but they are just palin ignorant. It is important to contact the journalist and try to educate them in the basics of radiation. Properly done they will change. It may take awhile for them to change, but it can happen (not all, but the better percentage will change).

    Larry Grimm

    December 6, 2007 at 11:26 pm

  3. Um.. couldn’t they look in an encyclopedia? Even wikipedia? Or even do a Google search?

    Or maybe *gasp* contact somebody who knows something. I mean for one thing there’s the Health Physics Society which has a damn good outreach program. I wonder if they would respond to an email that said “Hi I’m a reporter and I am writing a story about this stuff called Lawrencium-103. What can you tell me about it and any potential dangers?”

    I tend to think they would respond promptly, especially if the email was better written than above.


    December 20, 2007 at 3:58 am

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