The Periodic Table got a little bigger this week, when scientists for the first time ever synthesized a new, heavy element by bombarding calcium atoms with the rare, heavy, radioactive element berkelium. The resulting atom was a highly unstable heavy element with 117 protons. It’s so hard to make that the research team only produced six atoms of it–for comparison there are about 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms in a drop of water.
It’s being called Ununseptium (Latin for 117) for now. It won’t get named until another lab reproduces the experiment to confirm the results–a process that will probably take several years. The New York Times has the full story.
Speaking of elements…
P.S. Super-secret quest extra credit: Write the phrase “Science is Real” somewhere on the first page of Monday’s quest for a free extra credit point. Shhh….