Longest Name of an Element on the Periodic Table

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Of the 118 elements in the periodic table, it is interesting to find out which element in the periodic table has the longest name. Different elements in the periodic table exhibit different properties and they are widely classified as metals, nonmetals, metalloids, and other radioactive elements. 

In this article, we are going to find out which element in the periodic table has the longest name. Also, you will get to know the properties of the element. Keep scrolling to know more.

Which Element has the Longest Name in the Periodic Table?

In the Periodic Table, Rutherfordium, the element placed at 104th position, has the longest name. It is 13 letters long and it was named after Ernst Rutherford who was a New Zealand-born British scientist. Rutherford played a significant role in the study of the structure of the atom and as a matter of respect, the element Rutherfordium was named after him. 

Rutherfordium or Rf is a radioactive trans-uranium element having a mass of 267 atomic mass units. Being radioactive, there are no practical usages of the element. However, the element plays an important role in experimental purposes and development. Further, let us learn how this element was discovered and named.

Rutherfordium Discovery

The discovery of Rutherfordium has been a matter of dispute between Russian and American scientists. In 1964, a team of Russian scientists claimed to have discovered the element at the 104th position on the periodic table. 

The research was headed by Geroge Flerov at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) and the then-discovered element at 104th position was named Kurchatovium (Ku). It was named after Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov, a Soviet nuclear physicist.

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The Russian scientists bombarded  Plutonium-242 with a beam of Neon-22 ions and observed nuclear fission. This nuclear fission confirmed the presence of a new element. However, this discovery was not given its due importance at that time, but with continuous experiments, it was finally accepted in 1966 in Dubna.

Then again in 1969, a team of American scientists attempted to find out the isotope of the same element, however, they used a different method to do so. They bombarded californium-249 with Carbon-12 and Carbon-13 and obtained two different isotopes of element 104 with mass numbers 257 and 258 respectively.

Not only this, but American scientists also discovered an isotope with 261 as the mass number. This element came into being after bombarding curium-248 with oxygen-18. Then, they named the element at 104th position Rutherfordium in the honor of the name of Ernest Rutherford.

Controversial Name of the Element

Since the discovery of Rutherfordium has been controversial and disputed between American and Russian scientists, it led to a problem in the naming of the element as well. Temporarily, the name of the element at 104th place in the Periodic Table was kept as Unnilquadium (Unq). This was the IUPAC name of the element that was internationally accepted by everyone.

Further, the naming was to be done in such a manner that both Dubna and Berkley teams were to be given credit for the discovery of the element. However, more importance was given to the Berkley team as it made better discoveries regarding the 257 and 258 isotopes of Rutherfordium. The Berkley team was also able to find the Nobelium isotope. 

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Consequently, in 1997, the name “Rutherfordium” was finally given to the 104th element. Not only this but to give credit to the Dubna team, the name dubnium (Db) was given to the 105th element of the periodic table. Hence, after all the controversies, the element was finally named Rutherfordium and since then it is the longest-named element of the Periodic Table. 

Isotopes of the Element

Rutherfordium is a radioactive element that has as many as 16 radioisotopes. However, all the isotopes of the element Rutherfordium are unstable. As isotopes are compounds of an element that have the same atomic number by different atomic masses, the 16 unstable isotopes of Rutherfordium have atomic masses ranging from 253 to 270. Of all the isotopes, Rf(267) is the most stable one. Also, there is no confirmation of the existence of isotopes with masses 266, 268, and 270.

Rutherfordium Properties

Rutherfordium does not have any practical uses or any other applications. The element is primarily used for research purposes. Most importantly, since Rutherfordium is not available naturally, there is no chance of getting affected by it by any means. The following are some of the most common properties of Rutherfordium. 

•Rutherfordium is an element belonging to the d block of the periodic table. It has atomic number 104 and mass number 267. The element is a radioactive trans-uranium element and it does not have any practical applications.

•Rutherfordium does not exist in a free state in nature. As a result, even though the element is radioactive, there is no possibility of getting affected by the element. 

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•The element Rutherfordium has 16 unstable isotopes and none of the isotopes of Rutherfordium are naturally occurring. The isotopes 266, 268, and 270 do not have a sure existence. 

•Most of the radioactive isotopes of Rutherfordium have been created in the laboratory by the fusion of different elements or by the fusion of the isotopes of different elements. 


Rutherfordium is a radioactive trans-uranium element that has 16 isotopes. However, all the isotopes of this element are unstable. Rutherfordium is positioned at 104th place in the periodic table and it does not have any practical uses other than the purpose of using it for research. It is not found in nature, so there is no chance of getting affected by it in any manner. 

Rutherfordium is named after the well-known British scientist Ernest Rutherford. Both the naming and discovery of the element have been controversial. It is believed that the element was discovered by Russian as well as American scientists. However, the Russian discovery was not accepted until 1966. 

Similarly, while naming the element, it became a matter of great confusion as the naming could be done by Americans as well as Russian scientists. Lastly, it was decided that the 104 elements in the periodic table were to be named Rutherfordium. Since then, it is the longest-named element in the periodic table.

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