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New, Superheavy Element 117 to Be Added to the Periodic Table

Why is everything so heavy in 2014? Is there something wrong with the Earth's gravitational pull?


Hey, chemistry students studying for final exams: you missed a spot! It’s not your fault, though. Element 117 was just confirmed in a lab and will soon be added to the periodic table, so you’ll have one more element to memorize in the near future. Man, I hope your periodic table posters are recyclable.

Element 117 resides in the zone past element 104, where the “superheavy” elements are found. Of course, due to the nature of the periodic table, we’ve known of its existence for some time, but scientists hadn’t bothered with trying to create it, because the necessary materials were a bit hard to get. I’m sure in the future, berkelium will be available in every corner drug store, but in 2014, it’s a little hard to come by.

That didn’t stop an international team of scientists at Germany’s GSI (Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research) laboratory, whose recently published findings in Physics Review Letters finally confirm the element’s existence. They were able to create element 117 by accelerating beams of nuclei and firing them at the heaviest available nuclei, and it seems to match the heaviest atoms ever found—40% heavier than lead.

Now, all that’s left is to name it and let everyone fill in box 117 on their periodic table with its real name. Oh, and I guess we’re going to need a new periodic table of the elements song, too. Sorry, AsapSCIENCE. You had a good, if short, run.

(via, image via Larry)

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Dan is many things, including a game developer, animator, martial artist, and at least semi-professional pancake chef. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (his dog), both of whom are the best, and he will never stop reminding The Last Jedi's detractors that Luke Skywalker's pivotal moment in Return of the Jedi was literally throwing his lightsaber away and refusing to fight.