More Pictures

I have also been getting some requests for more in-depth pictures of my structure. I suppose that we are close enough for this sort of thing now, I can reveal some proton/neutron structure pictures.


I’m sure that I have said this before, but some people were asking so I guess I will have to repeat myself, I do not occur naturally. That means you won’t be finding me or any other curium atoms popping up in nature, we are too special for that sort of thing.


I also happen to be a very useful element, in case you were wondering.

My maim job is to fuel Radioisotope Thermal Generators (we in the know atoms call it RTG for short) on board satellites, deep space probes, planetary surface rovers and in heart pacemakers. Are you impressed yet?

I also work part time as an alpha emitter for alpha particle X-Ray spectrometry, again particularly in space applications.

Common Isotopes

This is a handy little chart I found of all of my most common isotopes, enjoy!

Main article: Isotopes of curium
iso NA half-life DM DE (MeV) DP
242Cm syn 160 days SF
α 6.1 238Pu
243Cm syn 29.1 y α 6.169 239Pu
ε 0.009 243Am
244Cm syn 18.1 y SF
α 5.8048 240Pu
245Cm syn 8500 y SF
α 5.623 241Pu
246Cm syn 4730 y α 5.475 242Pu
247Cm syn 1.56×107 y α 5.353 243Pu
248Cm syn 3.40×105 y α 5.162 244Pu
250Cm syn 9000 y SF
α 5.169 246Pu
β 0.037 250Bk

My Story Starts…

… one quiet day at Berkeley University in 1944. My good friends Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso were the first ones to notice me, I like to think that it gave us a special bond.

That was when I was discovered, but I was first chemically identified at the Metallurgical Laboratory (I think that it’s called the Argonne National Laboratory now) at the University of Chicago.

I was the third transuranium element discovered, it took some time for Americium to be discovered even though she is before me, she is such a dear but so light that it took her forever to be noticed.

There is, of course, the very long and boring story of exactly how I was discovered but I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hear that. Oh, you do? Well I really can’t recall the entire thing, but my friend Rachel Sheremeta Pepling describes the occasion wonderfully in her book, “Chemical & Engineering News: It’s Elemental: The Periodic Table- Americium.” Here is the most interesting but, where she is talking about me:

“The sample was prepared as follows: first plutonium  nitrate solution was coated on a platinum foil of about 0.5 cm2 area, the solution was evaporated and the residue was converted into plutonium dioxide (PuO2) by annealing . Following cyclotron irradiation of the oxide, the coating was dissolved with nitric acid and then precipitated as the hydroxide using concentrated aqueous ammonia solution. The residue was dissolved in perchloric acid, and further separation was carried out by ion exchange to yield a certain isotope of curium. The separation of curium and americium was so painstaking that the Berkeley group initially called those elements pandemonium (from Greek for all demons or hell) and delirium  (from Latin for madness).”

There, now wasn’t that lovely?

Fun Facts

How about some fun facts, so that we can get to know each other better?

Hmm lets see, well like I said my full name is Daphne and I am a Curium atom, but everyone calls it Cm for short. I’m so lucky that I don’t have one of those weird abbreviations that no one remembers, like Sodium (Na).

My number is 96. Atomic number that is, we don’t know each other well enough for me to give you my phone number. After all, you could be some creepy online stalker for all I know. Not that I think that you are, please don’t be offended, but an atom’s got to watch her back these days. It’s not as safe as it used to be.

My melting point is 1340 degrees Celsius, and I admit that I am proud that it is by far the highest of all the transuranic elements. Well, except for Gadolinium, but no one really counts him anyways. Did you hear the rumors of what he was up to over Christmas? Oh I would tell you, such a good story, but I really must stay on topic.

My boiling point is 3110 degrees Celsius which is nothing to sneeze at so get that look off of your face! Like you could do any better.

My weight? You want to know my weight? Don’t you know thats an inappropriate thing to ask a lady atom? Well you are right I suppose, it is rather important when defining my properties. I weight 247. Don’t judge, I’m big boned.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t that much data about me out there. You could say I’m hard to pin down, I don’t like commitment so I leave before most of my physical and chemical properties are discovered. I blame it on my childhood, my dad wasn’t around a lot so now I am subconsciously trying to mirror that relationship. At least, that’s what the therapist told me before i stopped going.

I will admit, I am pretty reactive. Mostly with water, halogens, and acids. Oh, and bases, bases really get my going. It’s just all those girls think they are so hot. Uhg whatever, don’t let me start on the,.

So those are most of my basic, facts, if you are still reading then I am honestly impressed with you.


Hi There

My name is Daphne, and I am a Curium atom. Thats an element, by the way. You may not have heard of me because I’m not as flashy as gold or silver (but boy are they a bore to talk to at a dinner party!) or as practical as aluminum. But trust me, I’m super fun to talk to! stick around and get to know me, and read all about my adventures.