Two new elements added to the periodic table

Posted on June 9, 2011


For all you fellow science nerdy nerds out there, here’s to filling in a couple of spots of the periodic chart:

They exist for only seconds at most in real life, but they have gained immortality in chemistry: two new elements have been added to the periodic table.

The elements were recognized by an international committee of chemists and physicists. For now, they are called Elements 114 and 116 — permanent names and symbols will be chosen later.

People are not likely to run into either of them. Scientists make them in labs by smashing atoms of other elements together to create the new ones.

[…]

In contrast to more familiar elements like carbon, gold and tin, the new ones are short-lived. Atoms of 114 disintegrate within a few seconds, while 116 disappears in a fraction of a second, Dr. Moody said.

Both elements were discovered by a collaboration of scientists from Livermore and Russia. They made them by smashing calcium ions into atoms of plutonium or another element, curium. The official recognition, announced last week, cites experiments done in 2004 and 2006.

The new elements may not last long in the laboratory, but they’ve filled a couple of spots permanently on the periodic table and that is totally cool.

The next challenge will be coming up with names for these new elements; names ending in “ium,” naturally.  Given that the new monikers will be around forever, finding suitable ones may prove to be more of a challenge than creating the elements themselves.  But hey, since we’ve already got a Californium, the only way to go is up ; )

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Posted in: Science