Uranium has the symbol U on the periodic table. It was discovered by a scientist named Martin Heinrich Klaproth in 1789. Once he made the discovery, he thought that he had found pure uranium, but he originally found uranium dioxide. Later on, he isolated it to find pure uranium.
A scientist holding uranium.
Uranium has an atomic number of 92, meaning it has 92 protons and 92 electrons. It has an atomic weight, or the average mass of all sixteen of its isotopes (three naturally occurring on Earth), of 238.03. Due to the fact that uranium is radioactive, none of its isotopes are stable. However, they do have very long half lives lasting millions of years.
Uranium can be found on Earth because it has three naturally occurring isotopes. It can be found in the topsoil and mantle of the Earth. It is even believed that the decay of radioactive elements including Uranium are the cause for the conditions of the Earth's mantle. In addition, it can be mined, is commonly mined in Canada, Subsaharan Africa and Russia.
The most famous use of uranium was in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WWII names " Little Boy”. Uranium was chosen because it is radioactive and fissionable, or causes a great deal of energy when its neutrons split. The bomb used the isotope U-235, which had to be extracted from the most common isotope U-238. Uranium is also used as nuclear fuel for electricity in nuclear power stations. It also powers submarines for the military.
a fun uranium comic: