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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Scientists Discover a New Element - First Atoms of Element 117 Produced

By April 7, 2010

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When you go looking for new elements, you already know how many protons they are going to have. It's a matter of finding the new element, making it, or detecting decay products that could only have come from the new element. This is a tricky process because the higher atomic weight elements are difficult to produce and very, very short-lived. It's rare for new elements to be discovered, so I'm excited that a team of Russian and American scientists report that they have created 6 atoms of element 117. Atoms of the new element were produced by firing atoms of calcium (atomic number 20) at a berkelium target (atomic number 97) to produce atoms with 117 protons.

At this time, no 'real' name for element 117 has been proposed, so you can call it element 117 or by its placeholder name, ununseptium (which means 117). Names are proposed for elements only after their existence has been confirmed by a second source. The New York Times has more details about the discovery or you can read the report of the element's production in Physical Review Letters.


April 12, 2010 at 10:58 am
(1) Frederick Frick says:

Why not just take element 116 and throw hydrogen at it to make 117? and etc.

July 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm
(2) a says:

116 is too radioactive to have enough time to throw hydrogen at it.

April 12, 2010 at 11:55 am
(3) iris ikome says:

i don’t think that’s enough reason to call it authentic.i believe tests should be done and one should be told if its radioactive or not and so on.i am with u Frederick,we can also take any other two and combine.

April 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm
(4) Gerry says:

Well, considering that the researchers slammed together literally millions of atoms of calcium and berkelium and produced a grand total of six atoms of UUS, and considering the fact that 116 has a very short half-life (as well as being extremely rare), I don’t think your idea is too workable.

April 12, 2010 at 11:55 pm
(5) Daniel says:

Dat’s good,discoveries are ok.but can we know the importance of the element 117.God I wish I were also given d oppurtunities 2make new discoveries

April 13, 2010 at 7:27 pm
(6) Henry says:

I think its fabulous that we can create elements. But, how does this aid us as a species. Those Russian scientists are obviously very able in the fields of chemistry and physics. Surely their talents could be better applied.

April 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm
(7) chaitraja.s says:

That’s great to hear. i wish i would have also got some oppurunity to be a part of this invention.

April 15, 2010 at 3:49 am
(8) Thomas George. C says:

I was waiting to hear abot this element which made a hole in the periodic table.
hearty congratulations to the team……….

April 15, 2010 at 9:01 am
(9) kiran says:

thats a good discovery.. why cant a element is discovered for medical uses just like for HIV and all

April 18, 2010 at 1:00 am
(10) rtjagtap,pune says:

its a great news.
im intrested to know more about it.

April 18, 2010 at 10:55 am
(11) roz says:

I was waiting to hear abot this element which made a hole in the periodic table.
thank you

June 5, 2010 at 3:06 am
(12) Ammar says:

well the lets see how many more element be found

February 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm
(13) mc says:

what’s the use of it?..

February 16, 2011 at 9:07 am
(14) thusha says:

besst wishes for the team

March 24, 2011 at 11:08 am
(15) arah apostol says:

how is that true..? Thats another element will be added in our critical study…

March 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm
(16) anynomus synonomus says:

why not send an collision using 114 going together with anouther 114 after all its unstable already wouldn’t it stick better?

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