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Which Chemical Element Is the Hardest to Find?

Astatine is the most rare naturally-occurring element on Earth. In fact, scientists know very little about this radioactive semi-metal, which forms during the decay of uranium and thorium. Physicists have to infer many of the element’s properties -- such as its radioactive properties, its conduction qualities, and its color -- and it’s thought that only about 25 grams occur naturally on the planet at any given time. In addition to its scarcity, astatine doesn’t last very long. Astatine-210, the element’s most stable form, has a half-life of 8.1 hours, which means that it you found some, half of it would be gone after a typical workday.

It might be, it could be:

  • The element has an atomic number (85), an atomic symbol (At) and an atomic weight (210). The element's name is derived from the Greek word astatos, which means unstable.

  • Astatine is the heaviest known element in the halogen group. Halogens have low melting and boiling points, are brittle when solid, and are poor conductors of heat and electricity.

  • Some scientists think astatine might be a good cancer fighter, though its scarcity makes research difficult. It might behave like iodine, they say, which tends to collect in the thyroid. Once there, its radioactivity could zap cancerous cells.

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More Info: ScienceAlert

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