Rutherfordium is a chemical element. It has also been named eka-hafnium and unnilquadium. It has the symbol Rf and has the atomic number 104. It is a very radioactive element that does not exist in nature. It has to be made. Rutherfordium is the first transactinide element.. The isotope that has the longest half-life is 265Rf. Rutherfordium-265 only has a half life of about 13 hours.
The amount of rutherfordium that has been made is not enough to give much information about it. The element has no present uses. It is thought that the chemistry of rutherfordium will be like the chemistry of hafnium.
Rutherfordium was named after Ernest Rutherford. It was reported that it was first made in 1964 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna, Russia. The scientists reported that they bombarded a different chemical element 242Pu with the element 22Ne. The neon-22 particles were accelerated to an energy of 113 to 115 MeV. They claim they detected nuclear fission tracks in a special type of glass with a microscope showing that a new element was there.
In 1969 scientists at the University of California, Berkeley made rutherfordium by banging together 249Cf and 12C at very high energies. These scientists said that when they tried to make rutherfordium in the same way as the scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research none of the element was produced.
The scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research claimed that it was first detected in Dubna. They thought it should be named dubnium (Db) or kurchatovium (Ku) for Igor Vasilevich Kurchatov (1903-1960).
The scientists at the University of California, Berkeley thought it should be named rutherfordium (Rf).
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) decides the name of elements that should be used by everyone. They used unnilquadium (Unq) as a temporary name. Unnilquadium is the systematic element name meaning "one-zero-four" in Latin. In 1997 they resolved the dispute and used the current name of rutherfordium. The chemical element with atomic number 105 was named dubnium.