At Last! Scientists Have Created Ununseptium, The Most Massively Heavy Element Ever

A new element has been created, and it's so massive they call it "superheavy." Element 117 on the periodic table is currently known as ununseptium, and was made when scientists smashed together some atoms from the elements calcium and berkelium.

Above, you can see berkelium (left) and calcium (right), whose atoms form the two ingredients of Element 117.


The new element was synthesized in a Russian lab by a team of chemists. Nature blog The Great Beyond has the story:

"Fifty years ago, the elements beyond the first 100 on Mendeleev's periodic table were believed not to exist, that their half-life periods were so short that there was no sense in talking of them," says [researcher Yuri] Oganessian. "We have managed to expand the borders of the physical world."

Even better, analysis of the new element suggests theories about these super-heavy elements becoming more stable as they get heavier may be correct. This so-called "island of stability" might mean that some of these elements could hang around long enough to be actually studied, rather than vanishing nearly as soon as they're created.

So basically we're going to be getting more superheavy elements that last longer. Right now, however, there are no known uses for superheavy atoms or elements, mostly because they usually stick around for such a short time that nobody gets a chance to do anything with them. That may all be about to change.

via The Great Beyond


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