The actinides

  • Simon Cotton
Part of the Macmillan Physical Science Series book series (PHYSSS)


After the discovery of uranium — recognised in 1789 by Klaproth — and thorium (Berzelius, 1828), a considerable period elapsed before actinium (1899) and protactinium (1913) were recognised. For many years they were regarded as a new transition-metal series and placed in groups IIIA–VIA of the Periodic Table. Following the discovery of the transuranium elements, increased chemical and spectroscopic study, particularly of the later actinides with their increasing emphasis on the +3 state, revealed them to be a ‘heavier version’ of the lanthanide series, in which the 5f orbitals were being filled.


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  1. C. Keller, The Chemistry of the Transuranium Elements, Verlag Chemie, 1971.Google Scholar
  2. K. W. Bagnali, The Actinide Elements, Elsevier, 1972.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Simon Cotton 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Cotton
    • 1
  1. 1.Felixstowe CollegeUK

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