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.


Protactinium, formerly protoactinium, symbol Pa, radioactive metallic element with an atomic number of 91. Protactinium is a member of the actinide series of the periodic table. It was discovered in 1918 by the Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner and the German physical chemist Otto Hahn. Protactinium is a member of the uranium-actinium radioactive-decay series and is found in uranium ores. Isotopes of protactinium ranging in mass number from 215 to 238 are known. Protactinium-233 has a half-life of 27 days. Protactinium-231, the most stable isotope, has a half-life of more than 32,000 years; by emission of an alpha particle it decays to actinium. Protactinium melts at about 1552° C (about 2826° F), boils at about 4227° C (about 7641° F), and has a specific gravity of about 15.37.

See also Radioactivity