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Which element is named after the name of a planet?
A. $Hg$
B. $Po$
C. $Pu$
D. $Ra$

Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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Hint: In the modern periodic table, there are a total of $118$ chemical elements and $41$ of the chemical elements were named after places around the world i.e., terrestrial locations or astronomical objects i.e., bodies connected to the solar system.

Complete answer:Mercury $(Hg)$: It is an extremely rare element that is found in our earth’s crust. It is also known as quicksilver because its liquid is shiny and has a lustre like silver. It was symbolized as $Hg$ from hydrargyrum which is a Latin word and its meaning is water-silver. Although its name resembles one of the planets present in the solar system, but it was named after Mercury who was a Roman God known for his mobility and speed.
Polonium $(Po)$: It is rare and a highly radioactive metal which has no stable isotopes. It was extracted from an ore of uranium i.e., pitchblende by Marrie and Pierre Curie and is solely identified by its strong radioactive properties. Thus, it was named after the homeland of Marrie Curie which is Poland.
Plutonium $(Pu)$: It is a radioactive metal which is present in the actinide series with a silvery grey appearance which gets oxidized and forms a dull coating when exposed to air. Just because this element was discovered after uranium and neptunium which were named after the planets Uranus and Neptune, so it was named after the planet Pluto which was considered to be a planet at that time.
Radium $(Ra)$: It is a chemical element found in group 2 of the modern periodic table and is also termed as alkaline earth metal. It was discovered by Marrie and Pierre Curie and its name originated from a Latin word “radius”, which means ray.
Therefore, the element named after the name of a planet is plutonium $(Pu)$.
Thus, option (C) is the correct answer.

It is important to note that the plutonium was discovered in late $1940$ but its discovery was kept secret by the University of California until $1948$ because it was the period of World war $\text{II}$. The plutonium element is widely used in radiological weapons and modern nuclear weapons because of its radioactive properties.