98Cf Californium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Albert Ghiorso, Kenneth Street Jr., Stanley Thompson and Glenn Seaborg of the USA

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named after the State and University of California, californium is a silvery, radioactive metal. It is a chemically active metal, reacting with air, water and acids but not bases. Californium is a particularly high neutron emitter. It has never been found naturally and only a few grams are produced each year. Californium is used in portable neutron emitters and in diagnostic and prospecting equipment, especially for petroleum exploration and gold and silver prospecting. It is also used to treat cancer. The most stable isotope of californium has a half-life of 900 years.

Biological Benefits

Californium has no biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits to life processes in plants and animals.


Californium is obtained by particle bombardment of plutonium.