Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Modern-day alchemy: a recipe for a new superheavy element

By Elizabeth Williams

How did scientists go about discovering the short-lived superheavy element 115?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Even though nearly 80 years have passed since the discovery of Technetium, the first “synthetic” element, the periodic table of elements remains a work in progress.

On Tuesday, evidence for the existence of element 115 — a potential new addition to the periodic table – was published in The Physical Review Letters.

The element has 115 protons, only lives for fractions of a second on average, and is one of several that may eventually be considered for entry into the exclusive chemical club.

To see what it takes to add a new element to the periodic table (below) — and to understand why seeking to make these new elements is important — we first need to understand what scientists are trying to create.


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The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.