Background of the project:
In 2007 we began a project to document the discovery of all isotopes. In contrast to the discovery of a new element, the first observation of a new isotope is not as well defined.
For each isotope we wrote a brief paragraph describing the discovery, including the authors, institution, year and method of discovery. The paragraph includes a quote from the original paper and discusses any possible controversies related to the discovery.
These paragraphs are being published in a series of papers in the journal Atomic Data and Nuclear Data Tables. Links to the references for each element are listed in the table of the discovery papers.
NEW 2012 Ranking:
We recently completed the literature search for new discoveries in the year 2012. 67 new nuclides were reported in 2012. We credited the paper by Kurcewicz et al. (Phys. Lett. B 717 (2012) 371) alone with the discovery of 59 nuclides. In addition, the discovery of 239Cm was credited to a 2008 paper by Qin et al.
This increases the total number of nuclides discovered to 3172. 3444 unique authors reported these discoveries in 1514 different papers with 893 different first authors.
Hans Geissel (GSI) took over the top ranking as the (co)author of the most published nuclides with 272. Marek Pfützner moved to #2 with 224. Hans Geissel becomes only the seventh scientist to hold the #1 ranking. The previous leaders were H. Becquerel (1896-1897), M. and P. Curie (1898-1903), E. Rutherford (1904-1919), F. Aston (1920-2005), and G. Münzenberg (2005-2012).
In cataloguing these data, an attempt was made to account for the different use of initials and name changes (due to marriage, for example). However, this might not always be correct. Authors are encouraged to check the list of discovery papers which were published in At. Data Nucl. Data Tables. Corrections can be sent by email and would be very welcome.