Matter & Energy

Matter is composed of atoms or groups of atoms called molecules. The arrangement of particles in a material depends on the physical state of the substance. In a solid, particles form a compact structure that resists flow. Particles in a liquid have more energy than those in a solid. They can flow past one another, but they remain close. Particles in a gas have the most energy. They move rapidly and are separated from one another by relatively large distances.


Berkelium, symbol Bk, artificially created radioactive metallic element. The atomic number of berkelium is 97; the element is one of the transuranium elements in the actinide series of the periodic table. Berkelium was discovered in 1949 by the American chemists Glenn T. Seaborg, Stanley G. Thompson, and Albert Ghiorso at the University of California laboratories in Berkeley, California, for which the element was named. An isotope of mass number 243 with a half-life of 4.6 hours was produced by bombarding americium-241 with alpha particles accelerated in a cyclotron (see Particle Accelerators). Subsequently, nine more isotopes were produced, bringing the total range of mass numbers from 242 to 251. The most stable isotope of berkelium, with a half-life of about 1400 years, has a mass number of 247. See also Radioactivity.