Feeds

Boffins make heaviest ever element?

Obesity trend continues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

A collaborative research team of Russian and America scientists may have created two new heavyweight elements. Provisionally named Ununpentium and Ununtrium, if confirmed, these will be the heaviest elements on official record, with 115 and 113 protons in the nuclei, respectively.

Scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia bombarded an Americium target with heavy Calcium atoms. Initial results suggested that an atom with 115 protons in its nucleus had been created. This existed for 90 milliseconds* before decaying into a smaller, but still massive element with 113 protons in its nucleus. This stayed around for 1.2 seconds, enough time for some interesting chemistry, according to a report in Nature**.

The scientific world is reacting cautiously to the news: in 2001 a scientist was found to have faked results indicating that he had created an even heavier element with an atomic number of 118. Since that incident, verification of any results has been an absolute priority.

The findings also hint that scientists are getting close to the predicted ‘Island of Stability'. This is a region in the periodic table where very heavy atoms are stable, because of the particular arrangement that the nuclear particles may take.

The heaviest element to occur in nature is Uranium, weighing in at 92 on the atomic number scale.

Heavier elements than that decay rapidly as the strong, attractive nuclear force is overcome by the repulsive, electrostatic force between protons. The heaviest officially-certified*** synthetic element, Darmstadtium, had 110 protons. Researchers have reported finding elements with 111, 112, 114 and 116 protons. These are yet to be officially confirmed.

However, a zone in which the protons could find a stable arrangement is predicted, and these ghostly sightings indicate that this could be getting close. In this region, elements may remain stable for a number of years. By contrast, the lives of ‘normal’ elements however, are of the order of the age of the universe.

The findings were originally reported in Physical Review . ®

*During which time it received several unsolicited emails, and sent its bank account details to someone in Nigeria

**And plenty of time for Jordan to have had a meaningful relationship with it. Details will be in her new book.

*** Certified by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS
Threaderick the Great! And YES, we asked the Arapaho
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN
Big cat causes big trouble at Mumbai college
Too rich for an iPhone 6? How about a gold-plated Brikk?
Not lobbed at your head, silly – a bling phone
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.