A new study has measured the first ionization energy—the energy it takes to wrench away an atom’s most loosely held electron—of lawrencium, raising questions about its proper place in the periodic table, Nature News reports. The measurement, which helps researchers understand an atom’s chemistry, shows that it took an unusually low amount of energy to rip away the electron, suggesting that it was very loosely held in the first place. On many standard periodic tables, lawrencium (Lr), a humanmade, radioactive element, sits as the last element of two rows called the lanthanides and actinides often separated out at the bottom of the table in what’s known as the f-block. Some of the study’s scientists conclude their findings show that’s where the element belongs, although other chemists disagree, arguing that the element would be more at home in the d-block that houses elements like scandium and titanium.
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