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Proof of the existence of element 43 was a mystery to chemists for many years. It was discovered that technetium and all of its isotopes were relatively short-lived compared to the age of the Earth and therefore have long since decayed. This silvery metal's presence has been detected in stars, however, leading scientists to formulate theories regarding its involvement in stellar evolution and element synthesis.
It was not until 1937 that technetium was artificially synthesized. Hence, technetium was named for the Greek "tekhnetos" meaning artificial. Technetium is the first of the artificially synthesized elements, and today, it is produced in large quantities in nuclear fuel rods.
The technetium-99m isotope serves as a radiation source in medicine where it is used to locate tumours in the spleen, liver, brain, and thyroid.