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Scientists Discover a New Element

Image via wiki commons
Image via wiki commons

A new, “super-heavy” element has been discovered. To be fair, it was first proposed in 2004 by Russian scientists. Taken up anew by a team of scientists in Sweden, the element has been confirmed. As yet unnamed*, the new element existed for less than a second as the scientists shot a beam of calcium (20 protons) into a film of americium (95 protons), giving the new element 115 protons.

Don’t throw the confetti just yet, though. A committee of international scientists will review the study and decide whether or not more work, testing, study, and such are needed before the newest element can officially be given a seat at the periodic table.

Element 115’s neighbors on the table are pretty new, too. Added just last year, livermorium (Lv, 116) and flerovium (Fl, 114) are also man-made, super-heavy elements.

While it has nothing to do with what the element may do or be able to build in the future, I’m always interested to learn the names and why they exist. Livermorium was named after a Livermore scientific research center in the town of Livermore. Others are named for their discoverers, like flerovium, which honors Georgy Flyorov. Element 115 was created recently with the aide of scientists from Lund University, so it will be interesting to see if the element is named “lundium” or something similar.

*You can see element 115 on the periodic table above listed as Uup, ununpentium, referring to its place as 115th in the table. Note that its neighbors 114 and 116 had similar placeholder names, too.