Rutherfordium Element Facts

The chemical element rutherfordium is classed as a transition metal. It was discovered in the 1960s by a team of scientists led by Georgy Flerov.

U300 cyclotron in Dubna, Russia.

Rutherfordium was made using the U300 cyclotron in Dubna, Russia. This is part of the more recent U400, used in the first ever synthesis of flerovium and livermorium. Image by Jim Roberto, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


Data Zone

Classification: Rutherfordium is a transition metal
Atomic weight: (267), no stable isotopes
State: solid (presumed)
Melting point:
Boiling point:
Electrons: 104
Protons: 104
Neutrons in most abundant isotope: 163
Electron shells: 2,8,18,32,32,10,2
Electron configuration: [Rn] 5f14 6d2 7s2
Density @ 20oC:
Show more, including: Heats, Energies, Oxidation, Reactions, Compounds, Radii, Conductivities
Atomic volume:
Specific heat capacity
Heat of fusion
Heat of atomization
Heat of vaporization
1st ionization energy
2nd ionization energy
3rd ionization energy
Electron affinity
Minimum oxidation number
Min. common oxidation no.
Maximum oxidation number
Max. common oxidation no.
Electronegativity (Pauling Scale)
Polarizability volume
Reaction with air
Reaction with 15 M HNO3
Reaction with 6 M HCl
Reaction with 6 M NaOH
Atomic radius
Ionic radius (1+ ion)
Ionic radius (2+ ion)
Ionic radius (3+ ion)
Ionic radius (1- ion)
Ionic radius (2- ion)
Ionic radius (3- ion)
Thermal conductivity
Electrical conductivity
Freezing/Melting point:

Ernest Rutherford

Rutherfordium is named after physicist and chemist Lord Ernest Rutherford, who is known as the father of nuclear physics.

Discovery of Rutherfordium

Rutherfordium was the first transactinide or super-heavy element to be discovered.

Rutherfordium may first have been synthesized in 1964 when a team of scientists at Dubna, Russia, led by Georgy Flerov, bombarded a plutonium target with neon ions.

The researchers calculated that isotope 259 had been created.

The discovery was not universally accepted and the synthesis was repeated at Dubna in 1966, which confirmed the 1964 results.

The researchers at Dubna suggested the name kurchatovium (Ku) for the newly discovered element after Igor Kurchatov, a Russian nuclear physicist.

In 1969, a team of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley led by Albert Ghiorso also attempted to synthesize rutherfordium.

They had no success with repeating the Russian experiment but they successfully synthesized rutherfordium by bombarding a californium target with carbon-12 and carbon-13 ions.

They suggested the name rutherfordium (Rf) after physicist and chemist Lord Ernest Rutherford, who is known as the father of nuclear physics.

The Council of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) decided in 1992 that both Berkeley and Dubna scientists should share the credit of the discovery and that the element would be called Rutherfordium.

Rutherfordium is radioactive

Rutherfordium is radioactive.

Albert Ghiorso discussing his plans to synthesize element 104, now known as rutherfordium.

Appearance and Characteristics

Harmful effects:

Rutherfordium is harmful due to its radioactivity.


Rutherfordium is a synthetic radioactive metal created by nuclear bombardment. It has only been produced in miniscule amounts. It is expected to have similar characteristics to hafnium and zirconium.

Research studies of 267Rf (which has a half-life of 65 seconds) demonstrated that rutherfordium forms 4+ ions when in water.

Uses of Rutherfordium

Rutherfordium is of research interest only.

Abundance and Isotopes

Abundance earth’s crust: nil

Abundance solar system: nil

Cost, pure: $ per 100g

Cost, bulk: $ per 100g

Source: Rutherfordium is a synthetic radioactive metal, created by nuclear bombardment, and has only been produced in tiny amounts. Rutherfordium can be made by bombarding plutonium-242 with accelerated neon ions or by bombarding californium-249 with accelerated carbon ions.

Isotopes: Rutherfordium has 15 isotopes whose half-lives are known, with mass numbers from 253 to 268. None are stable. The most stable isotope is 267Rf, with a half-life of 1.3 hours.

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