Plutonium Doesn’t Stick to Magnets

By Anupum Pant

We have known why Plutonium would not stick to a magnet for quite some time now. But since this is one of those metals which are hard to get and tough to deal with, the experimental proof had not existed till date. A research group from the Los Alamos National Laboratory has the answer.

To test the magnetic properties of Plutonium, basically to check how it existed in the ground state using a beam of neutrons helped them understand the configuration. They found that Plutonium had three super imposed ground states, all existing at the same time, where 4, 5 or 6 electrons could exist in the outermost valence shell of Plutonium.

Now since this configuration doesn’t allow it to have any unpaired spin electrons in the outermost orbit, Plutonium isn’t like the metals which are magnetic.

It blows my mind that even in the year 2015 when findings like these make great advances in the fundamental sciences. We still have so much to find out about even the most fundamental things…


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