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Scientists discover new element -- No. 118
MediaNews ^ | 10/18/06 | Ian Hoffman

Posted on 10/19/2006 8:39:08 AM PDT by presidio9

By firing atoms of metal at another metal, Russian and American scientists have discovered a new element -- No. 118 on the Periodic Table -- that is the heaviest substance known and probably hasn't existed since the universe was in its infancy.

Ununoctium, as the new element is temporarily named, has no known use but inspired almost a decade-long pursuit by scientists on four continents. Controversy in the course of its discovery hobbled the career of one physicist, sparked questions about scientific ethics and almost destroyed the world's most productive team of element hunters.

So far, science has gotten a fair measure of trouble out of Element 118 for something that destroys itself in a few thousands of a second. Yet creating the new element -- all three atoms of it -- confirmed the difficulty of finding a theorized family of super-heavy but stable elements.

``I think of this as any other journey to a new place,'' said Lawrence Livermore lab nuclear chemist and team member Nancy Stoyer. ``Why do you want to go to the moon? Why do you want to go to the top of Mount Everest? Finding it is something new, something interesting.''

Because the three atoms of Element 118 existed on average just under a thousandth of a second, scientists doubt they'll ever know much about it.

They sought an ``island of stability'' that the late master of element hunters, Nobel prize-winning Berkeley physicist Glenn Seaborg, had reasoned should be there -- a cluster of manmade elements with such a harmonious number of neutrons and protons that their nuclei didn't instantly self destruct.

Most of the super-heavy elements that scientists create in atom-smashing machines are so jammed with protons and neutrons that their nuclei look like wobbling footballs and Frisbees, inclined to crack apart easily. Nuclei

(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: elements; periodictable; ununoctium; yourtaxdollarsatwork

1 posted on 10/19/2006 8:39:09 AM PDT by presidio9
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To: presidio9

TeddyKennedyum?


2 posted on 10/19/2006 8:39:50 AM PDT by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou


Well, they both exhibit self-destructive behavior...


3 posted on 10/19/2006 8:41:21 AM PDT by presidio9 (Make Mohammed's day: Shoot a nun in the back.)
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To: Froufrou

Would fit, since he is of no known use.


4 posted on 10/19/2006 8:41:49 AM PDT by AxelPaulsenJr (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.)
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To: presidio9
Ununoctium

Horrible name.
5 posted on 10/19/2006 8:42:08 AM PDT by Borges
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To: presidio9
has no known use but inspired almost a decade-long pursuit by scientists on four continents.

I wonder how much American taxpayer money was wasted on this.

6 posted on 10/19/2006 8:44:43 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: presidio9

This element was not discovered- it was created.


7 posted on 10/19/2006 8:45:06 AM PDT by bobjam
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To: Borges

I wonder if it's an ungrammatical stab at Latin for "one-night-ium" - perhaps a reference to its impermanence?


8 posted on 10/19/2006 8:48:04 AM PDT by wideawake ("The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten." - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: presidio9

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1720575/posts


9 posted on 10/19/2006 8:51:29 AM PDT by Andy from Beaverton (I'm so anti-pc, I use a Mac)
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To: presidio9
How much money was spent to discover/create this 1/1000th of a second event?
10 posted on 10/19/2006 8:55:50 AM PDT by SF Republican
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To: presidio9
Skinner: We can buy real periodic tables instead of these promotional ones from Oscar Meyer. Krabappel: Who can tell me the atomic weight of bolognium? Martin: Ooh ... delicious? Krabappel: Correct. I would also accept snacktacular.


11 posted on 10/19/2006 8:55:50 AM PDT by Vaquero ("An armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: wagglebee

Hey, research into the nature of matter is useless, I agree with you.


12 posted on 10/19/2006 9:02:59 AM PDT by John Will
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To: presidio9
HEY!!! whatever happened to upsidaisyum?
13 posted on 10/19/2006 9:02:59 AM PDT by martin gibson ("I care not what course others may take, but as for myself, give me Ralph Stanley or give me death")
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To: John Will

I'm not saying that research is useless, I'm saying that it is a waste of taxpayer money to CREATE an element that lasts ONE THOUSANTH OF A SECOND and SERVED NO KNOWN PURPOSE. And for that matter, to spend a decade on it seems like a huge waste of these physicists' talent.


14 posted on 10/19/2006 9:07:49 AM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: presidio9
If it only survives for a millisecond or two.... is it really an element? What is the time threshold here? Do microseconds count?

Personally, I would say that any structure that is is not stable for at least 1 second does not qualify as an element. Perhaps a new category of "transitives" could be created to categorize these very short lived atoms.
15 posted on 10/19/2006 9:13:14 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: Borges
Ununoctium

Horrible name.

---
It's a temporary name. The discoverers will be allowed to pick a permanent name.

It means 118ium. It comes after Ununseptium(117ium) and before Ununennium(119ium), both of which are still discovered.
16 posted on 10/19/2006 9:18:31 AM PDT by Cheburashka (World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: martin gibson





Poindexter, dat you?


17 posted on 10/19/2006 9:43:16 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The hallmark of a crackpot conspiracy theory is that it expands to include countervailing evidence.)
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To: wagglebee

Well, the left has been searching for that "moderate Muslim" for a decade, and to no avail.


18 posted on 10/19/2006 9:48:50 AM PDT by Lekker 1 (("...the world will be...eleven degrees colder by the year 2000" -- K. Watt, Earth Day, 1970)
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To: John Will
well it isn't completely useless. It can be a stable element if they have the right number of neutrons inside of it. It sounds from the article they reason it is breaking apart is because the huge number of protons and the shape of the nucleus.
19 posted on 10/19/2006 10:19:20 AM PDT by ryan125
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To: wagglebee

No. 120 will be "Gorebotium"

The densest matter ever known, named in honor of the dense Gorebots who babble endlessly about nothing....

No. 121 will be "Clintonium" which is even worse.....

Don't even get me started on No. 122, "Carterium" will be so dense that it shares the characteristics of a "black hole"


20 posted on 10/19/2006 10:23:27 AM PDT by Enchante (There are 3 kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Drive-By Media)
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To: Enchante
Don't even get me started on No. 122, "Carterium" will be so dense that it shares the characteristics of a "black hole"

I suspect you have too low of numbers for both 120 and 122.

21 posted on 10/19/2006 10:30:20 AM PDT by CharacterCounts
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To: presidio9
Tape machines I work on have frames made of Japanesium.
It is a very soft but shiny metal incapable of maintaining the shape of screw threads. It was to be replaced with frames made of unobtainium, but there has been a delay in production.
22 posted on 10/19/2006 10:31:27 AM PDT by bk1000 (A clear conscience is a sure sign of a poor memory)
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To: presidio9

All that just for the fame that goes with "discovering" a new element?


23 posted on 10/19/2006 10:36:15 AM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: presidio9

"a cluster of manmade elements with such a harmonious number of neutrons and protons that their nuclei didn't instantly self destruct."

Sounds like trying to make a column of shaving cream. If only they can pile it high enough, it won't fall over.


24 posted on 10/19/2006 10:44:24 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: presidio9

When will Wal-Mart stock this stuff?


25 posted on 10/19/2006 10:50:24 AM PDT by Dr. Zzyzx
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To: wideawake

Un-un-oct-ium = 1 - 1 - 8 - ium.

But I like your suggestion.


26 posted on 10/19/2006 11:22:25 AM PDT by Tenniel (Never explain. Your friends donít need it, and your enemies wonít believe it anyway. Ė E. Hubbard)
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To: wagglebee
I wonder how much American taxpayer money was wasted on this.

I must disagree that this is a wasted effort. If an island of stability is found in an element off the end of the current chart of elements, it could very well have useful properties. Even if not, this type of basic research is one of the reasons we exist as a species IMO. Better than wasting my tax money on bridges to nowhere. I'd be willing to bet good money that less tax money was spent by these researchers than the aforementioned taxpayer financed boondoggle.

27 posted on 10/19/2006 12:25:29 PM PDT by zeugma (I reject your reality and substitute my own in its place. (http://www.zprc.org/))
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To: taxcontrol
Perhaps a new category of "transitives" could be created to categorize these very short lived atoms.

Not a bad idea IMO. 

I'm still interested in seeing if there are any non-transitives beyond the end of the current PT as now known .

28 posted on 10/19/2006 12:27:36 PM PDT by zeugma (I reject your reality and substitute my own in its place. (http://www.zprc.org/))
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To: presidio9

Glad my Chemistry Regents exams are far in my past. One more element to memorize might put me over the edge.


29 posted on 10/19/2006 12:36:47 PM PDT by MayflowerMadam
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