About the Element
The Russians first synthesized the element 104 in 1964 by colliding energetic (170 MeV) neon with plutonium targets at a research lab in Dubna, USSR.

22Ne + 242Pu ? 260Rf + 4 n

America didn't have an accelerator that could repeat this experiment but Lawrence Berkeley Lab created other isotopes of Rf in 1969 colliding accelerated carbon with californium targets. There are about 20 isotopes of Rf that have been created to date. None of them have any use and all undergo radioactive decay, usually by emission of an alpha particle.

The Russians had first right to the name, however element 104 went un-named for decades as the East & the West duked it out. At various times element 104 had 3 names: Kurchetovium, Dubnium and Rutherfordium. Rutherfordium won, but I hear there were concessions made.

Since this stuff seems off of the pages of science fiction, I did a 1960s version of a cartoon with neon and plutonium (check the "O") combining to make Rf. 4 neutrons spin off in the reaction. No isotopes of Rutherfordium are stable so the background is a "half life" graph.

About the Print
I used Monoprint and Pronto lithography methods, but I did number the print because the process is somewhat repeatable. I gave myself up a maximum edition of 5, and I presently have 2 prints that I liked. Why print more? Who wants to purchase Rutherfordium? And even as a gift it might have only limited appeal, like the Star Trek plate my sister sent my husband.

The print is on Arches 88. This paper is not wet prior to printing. Colored areas used Caran D'Arche water color crayons. Createx medium is used for better coloring and release of the watercolor crayons. Because the paper is not wet, the plate was misted lightly to facilitate release of the colored areas. The black outline was done with a Pronto polymer plate and Graphic Chemical oil based black litho ink. The black was printed immediately after the water based colored areas. I have never done this before - oil on water - but it seems to have worked.

About the Printmaker
I live in MA and am artistically challenged. My first degree is a BA in art. Since then I have gone on to get a BS & MS, and work in the area of radiation protection (i.e., practical physics). I presently work full time and am in a PhD program for Biomedical Engineering & Biotechnology. Lots of science. So I don't often get a chance any more to do artwork. I love these challenges as they provide deadlines and get me going.


by Barbara Reider

Symbol: Rf
Atomic number: 104
Atomic weight: 261