Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

A New Element Is Born

CNN reports a new element, Element 118 as it is tentatively called, has been made using Californium. It is the heaviest element ever recorded, and was only in existence for 1,000 of a second.

The element was created last year in Russia using a minuscule amount of Californium provided by the Americans. After a millisecond, it decayed into element 114, then into element 112 and then split in half, Moody said.

Creating a new element “is sort of the Holy Grail of nuclear physics,” said Konrad Gelbke, a scientist who was not on the team but directs the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. “It’s extremely hard to do.”

Moody said the new element will not be named until it is approved by an international association of chemists. Elements 113, 114, 115, and 116 are still unnamed.

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Apparently it takes a while, even several years, to confirm the existence of a new element. Element 118 will be named following approval by an international association of scientists.

There is a bit of nerdy gossip associated with the discovery of Element 118:

….the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, announced that it discovered the element in 1999 but retracted the claim two years later after an investigation found that one of its researchers, Dr. Victor Ninov, had fabricated data. Dr. Ninov was later fired.

However, the current report has been verified by multiple sources.

A Livermore scientist, Dr. Nancy J. Stoyer, said the team had calculated that there was less than one chance in 100,000 that the results were a statistical fluke.

“We’re very confident,” Dr. Stoyer said.

Battsium? Pepperium? Shellium? These are all available!


  1. #1 TexasSkeptic
    October 19, 2006

    My suggestion: Quujium, symbol Qj. It’s not named after anybody or anything (that I know of), but the symbol incorporates the only two letters of the alphabet that don’t appear on the Periodic Table.

  2. #2 JaysonB
    October 19, 2006

    who cares about new elements when we didn’t even get the bikini pictures we were promised!

  3. #3 Shelley Batts
    October 19, 2006

    I realized that if I posted said pictures, I’d never be taken seriously as a blogger ever again. 🙂

    Not that I am now, but still….

  4. #4 JaysonB
    October 19, 2006

    Oh, you’d be taken seriously as a blogger.

    Just not maybe a neuroscience one 🙂

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