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The discovery story of protactinium spans several years.Polish chemist Kasimir Fajans and German chemist Oswald Göhring discovered protactinium in 1913 at Karlsruhe, Germany.They called the element ‘brevium’ because the isotope they had found (protactinium-234) has a very short half-life (1.17 minutes).Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, discovered a much longer lived isotope in 1917: protactinium-231 (half-life of 32 670 years).Hahn and Meitner were searching for a ‘mother substance’ that decayed to actinium.Otto Hahn wrote that their goal was “to find that substance which…forms the starting point for the actinium series, and to determine whether and through which intermediates actinium is derived.” Their work was interrupted by the First World War.In 1917 they examined silica residue they had extracted from pitchblende (uranium oxide) over two years earlier.
Frederic Soddy and John Cranston also discovered protactinium independently in 1917, at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
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If you need to cite this page, you can copy this text: Kenneth Barbalace. Accessed on-line: 11/3/2016 Chemistry.com/yogi/periodic/- This site offers comprehensive information for each element including: who, when & where; up to 40 properties (chemical & physical); over 3,600 nuclides (isotopes); over 4,400 nuclide decay modes; the element names in 10 different languages; and more.
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Harmful effects: Protactinium is harmful due to its radioactivity and is also toxic.