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Hesperium (also known as esperium; atomic symbol Es) was the name assigned to the element with atomic number 94, now known as plutonium. It was named in Italian Esperio after a Greek name of Italy, Hesperia, "the land of the West". The same team assigned the name ausonium to element 93, after Ausonia, a poetic name of Italy.

The discovery of the element, now discredited, was made by Enrico Fermi and a team of scientists at the University of Rome in 1934. Following the discovery of nuclear fission in 1938, it was realized that Fermi's discovery was actually a mixture of Barium, Krypton, and other elements. The actual element was discovered several years later, and assigned the name plutonium.

Fascist authorities wanted that one of the elements was named littorio after the Roman lictores who carried the fasces, a symbol appropriated by Fascism.


  • Element name etymologies. Retrieved February 4, 2007.
  • Enrico Fermi, Artifical radioactivity produced by neutron bombardment, Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1938.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hesperium". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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