Scientist Discover a New Super Heavy Element, May Be Added to Periodic Table
Just what every high schooler wants: more elements to memorize. On Tuesday, scientists in Sweden announced the discovery of a new element, which is poised to be added to the periodic table.
The currently unnamed element has 115 protons and is made by combining atoms of calcium americium. In order to create it, scientists shoot a beam of calcium into a thin strip of americium.
For now, the element will be referred to as "Ununpentium" a Greek and Latin mashup of words that represent the element's atomic number. Catchy.
Ununpentium is considered a "super heavy" element, which describes a group of man-made elements. The heaviest naturally occurring element is Uranium, with 92 protons. Anything higher than that is the creation of scientists who use nuclear fusion to up the proton count and make an element heavier.
Super heavy elements are usually very unstable, existing for mere seconds. But nonetheless, scientists say that this recent discovery is still significant. In a statement from Lund University, the school where the research took place, Dirk Rudolph, Professor at the Division of Nuclear Physics said, "“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years.”
Proof that the quickly disappearing Ununpentium does in fact exist was provided by measurable radiation given off by the element as it decayed.
Scientists have been particularly excited about the unknown possibilities of super heavy elements. The new 115 proton finding brings their discoveries in this little explored section of the periodic table a step further.
Let's take this as an excuse to revisit our childhood, shall we?