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Meet Ununseptium, Best Contender Yet For Element 117

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the new-number-between-7-and-8 dept.

Science 54

From Motherboard comes this description of what may turn out to be the newest entry on the periodic table, newly synthesized element 117, created by researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research of Darmstadt, Germany, and described in results published this week in Physical Review Letters. From the article: "Element 117 has been temporarily given the very literal name ununseptium (one-one-seven in Latin), and will only honored with a real name once the the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and Chemistry (IUPAPC) confirms its synthesis at the GSI accelerator. Ununseptium is 40 percent heavier than lead, making it on par with the heaviest atoms ever observed. ... Its properties seem to confirm that the existence of the so-called “island of stability”—a theory suggesting that the half-lives of superheavy isotopes will lengthen as their atomic numbers increase further away from uranium. Any element with an atomic number greater than 103 is considered superheavy (or in the 'transactinide class,' if you prefer the scientific jargon). Transactinides can only be observed artificially in a laboratory, and synthesizing them is no easy task." Note: that "real name" process isn't a mere formality; just a few years ago, another attempt to synthesize a 117th element looked promising enough to be declared done, but could not be confirmed with the IUPAPC's tests.

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Link to paper (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912553)

https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.172501

Posting as AC so as not to karma-whore.
- Esteanil

Re:Link to paper (0)

Esteanil (710082) | about 7 months ago | (#46912559)

Hm, that got score 0...

Re:Link to paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46914359)

Hm, that got score 0...

Thats because /. still has this weird idea that the point of the moderation system is to give people karma, rather than to up-vote good comments, and consider up-modding an AC to be "wasting karma".

IIRC, slashcode does track karma for ACs (through their IP), it just doesn't do anything with it.

Re:Link to paper (1)

RockDoctor (15477) | about 7 months ago | (#46926713)

"4 informative" now.

Link to paper (5, Informative)

Esteanil (710082) | about 7 months ago | (#46912569)

Re:Link to paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46914631)

Old news....I've got a unit of super-heavy element with a half-life of 78 seconds right here!

Beta sucks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912637)

End that bullshit NOW!!!!

40% heavier than lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912639)

Trying to think of some practical applications for this discovery. Perhaps this would be better than depleted uranium in anti tank ammo, or as shielding from radiation on long space journeys?

Re:40% heavier than lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912655)

Since these aren't naturally occurring, they have to be created, and it's not done in any mass quantities.

Re:40% heavier than lead (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912683)

with a halflife of 78 miliseconds that seems unlikely.

it would not only be all gone within a second, it would kill everybody around it. (the half life and radiation are directly and inversely related)

Re:40% heavier than lead (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912807)

Just because the atoms are 40% heavier doesn't mean the bulk material (if ignoring half-life issues) will be 40% denser. Osmium is still 10% denser than uranium, and uranium is 30% denser than californium.

Re:40% heavier than lead (5, Informative)

Phroon (820247) | about 7 months ago | (#46912885)

The "40% heavier" actually refers to atomic weight, not density. By density, Tungsten is ~70% heaver than lead, Depleted Uranium about 68%. Tungsten's atomic wight is actually ~10% lighter than Lead's. Bulk density is about arrangement of the electrons and the resulting packing of atoms in the solid.

Re:40% heavier than lead (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about 7 months ago | (#46915681)

Tungsten is about the best you're gonna get if you want to buy something really heavy (almost twice as heavy as lead), that's easily available to the general public, relatively cheap, and non-toxic. I went and just bought this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tungst... [ebay.com]

Re:40% heavier than lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46917399)

Damn! I was going to say the same..

Re:40% heavier than lead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46920243)

The "40% heavier" actually refers to atomic weight, not density. By density, Tungsten is ~70% heaver than lead, Depleted Uranium about 68%. Tungsten's atomic wight is actually ~10% lighter than Lead's. Bulk density is about arrangement of the electrons and the resulting packing of atoms in the solid.

Yeah, and I wonder why they even bothered with it? Was it the lightest element they thought joe everybody would think was "heavy"? And "on par with the heaviest elements", suggests some sort of progress made acceptably. It's terrible writing. Just say "It is one of the heaviest elements ever imagined." if you must get some sensationalism out of the story.

Worst movie line ever (3, Funny)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 7 months ago | (#46912669)

From a scientific point of view anyway. From Predator 2: "This doesn't correspond to anything on the periodic table." Really? I'd propose naming a new element Hollywoodium but I think that would introduce more problems than it would solve.

Re:Worst movie line ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912873)

Maybe it was made out of unobtanium and they just didn't know it yet?

Re:Worst movie line ever (2)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about 7 months ago | (#46912875)

My votes in for Unobtanium

Re:Worst movie line ever (2)

sconeu (64226) | about 7 months ago | (#46913033)

Yeah, Hollywood would insist on DRM in the periodic table.

Re:Worst movie line ever (1)

tragedy (27079) | about 7 months ago | (#46913887)

That one bothered me at the time. Since then I've become more relaxed about it. There are actually a lot of possibilities for solid matter that aren't on the periodic table. Things like exotic purely non-baryonic matter, or combinations of baryonic and non-baryonic matter. Atoms with electrons replaced by Muons, for example. Many of the theoretical ideas for such exotic forms of matter have been ruled out, but there's a still a _lot_ out there. We are not yet remotely at the point where we can know for sure what might be possible. We're not even remotely at the point where we know everything that's possible in normal chemistry, after all, so why should exotic materials be any different.

Re:Worst movie line ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46917359)

Atoms with electrons replaced by Muons, for example.

You just blew my mind off!
Would muons dwell in orbitals having same energy levels as electrons? I guess not. Could we mix them with electrons in single atom and how would it affect chemistry if you had muons in inner shells of atoms? What would happen if you had a muon caught in outer shell of a halogen - would it descend "down", pushing out electrons, emitting photons with wavelength equivalent to difference in total energy? What would replacing all electrons with muons mean for conductivity of materials?
I guess we can't put our hands on as many muons as we would need for such experiments.

Re:Worst movie line ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46914167)

Bullshitium?

Ununtrium 113 (2)

12WTF$ (979066) | about 7 months ago | (#46915427)

Hereby declare support for naming Ununtrium (element 113) as:

Pixarium

Re:Worst movie line ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46920841)

Aye, such an element would repeatedly reboot the particle accelerator.

I do hope they find a better name. (5, Funny)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 7 months ago | (#46912781)

Ununseptium sounds like a nasal condition caused by the consumption of cocaine.

Re:I do hope they find a better name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912835)

I think Ununseptium was the ruler of Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls games

Re:I do hope they find a better name. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46913899)

That was actually the name of his political party: UnunTiberSeptium. The opposition party, of course, being UnTiberSeptium. Ol' Tiber wasn't very original. I guess when you're King you don't have to be, though. "It's good ta be the king."

Re:I do hope they find a better name. (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#46914599)

It'll eventually get a "real" name. This is the temporary IUPAC systematic name [wikipedia.org] .

Spermium (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46915955)

Spermium

Re:I do hope they find a better name. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 7 months ago | (#46919373)

Ununseptium's name has been up for debate for years.

Hell, I'm surprised this thread hasn't even suggested one based on Halo - Master Chief's designation number was, after all, 117. (He is "officially" known as John-117, or Spartan-117, depending on whether you want to personify him or not).

Every other thread on Uus has suggested it.

Half life? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46912931)

Does anybody know the half life?

Re:Half life? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46913361)

Yes.

Re:Half life? (1)

ACELLC (1612841) | about 7 months ago | (#46920541)

Yes.

I needed a little chuckle. Thank you sir.

Re:Half life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46922073)

How was this modded informative? Funny, yes; informative, no.

Counting protons... like so many sheep (-1, Offtopic)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 7 months ago | (#46913743)

Like sheep! Baaaah. Silly primates with their ordinal fixation, it was inevitable for the counters of cows and sheep to become counters of protons.

"How is everything that is different different from everything else?" Fair question, perhaps the ultimate question. So we started with four elements: "One, two... three... four! A ha ha ha ha!" says the Count. Then we got real and stuffed the periodic table with critters.

Q: How do I find the number of protons? A: You look it up in a table of the elements, silly! [jlab.org] Baaa, wrong answer. Q: How did the scientists count the number of protons? A: They counted them just like you would, one by one. [yahoo.com] Baaaa. Wrong answer but I wish I'd said it. Q: Is there a certain way to count the protons in an element when identifying them? A: [quoted below] [imascientist.org.uk] now we're getting somewhere...

[Bruce Alexander] There is a technique called mass spectrometry that is pretty good at counting protons, albeit indirectly. If you take an element, and strip of an electron you make it slightly positively charged. If you ping it through a gap between two oppositely charged plates (one negatively charged, and one positively charged), then the positively charged element will be repelled by the positive plate and attracted to the negatively charged plate. How fast the element moves towards the negative plate depends on how heavy the element is and, as the weight of an element depends on how many protons it has (as well as neutrons) you can 'count' the number of protons by measuring how fast the element moves towards the negative plate.

Okay so you're confidently shaving off what you think is an individual electron, observing the behavior of the resulting mass to infer a number of what you presume are individual protons. Q: How many decimal places of surety does this give us that in fact we are dealing with an ordinal number of things that act out on a linear scale? I wonder. How many electron licks does it take to get to the proton center of an atom-pop [youtube.com] ? Let's ask Mr. Owl. Mr. Owl just bit and swallowed the damned thing. Then I passed out of boring ordinal space into dream-time. In my dream I wondered how the fabric of reality knits together. Is the Hand Of God counting, "a-one, a-two, a-threee... crunch!" for every atom? What is the Hand with those wiggly ordinal fingers? Then I thought of entropy and radiation, the dances of the little electron chicks in their shells. [youtube.com]

In order to build an atomic firmament suitable for every day use -- a quantum boundary of is-ness below which things are not just made of smaller things, al absurdium, nature must change the rules. At this boolean primordial level there can only be is-ness and is-not-ness, one and zero [youtube.com] so the only way to change the rules is to NEGATE them. In other words, a flav fly groovy flip in which things are different from other things because of the absence of something, not the presence of something. Bizarre. What would that something that is absent, be? Because I like prime numbers one meta-universal topic came to mind. It may be the only possible answer.

FACTORABILITY. What if... what we know as discrete atomic elements are the shapes of relative stability that are BEST represented -- not by ordinal proton count -- but by prime numbers, as islands in a seething quantum foam, their stability arising by nature's inability to factor them further? What if the quantum firmament is continually 'factoring' things by trying to push them apart and pushing them over, not as-such of course since all our words are 3D and gravity prejudiced. Brownian motion being the visible evidence of the edge this factoring process at its most gentle, hard radiation at its most extreme? Element decay chains the embodiment of this factoring process? Half-life arising from the statistical probability of nature 'discovering' a prime factor?

What if there is another way to arrange and test the known elements that leverages prime numbers rather than ordinal numbers to them and their isotopes, or their measurable behaviors, that might make 'sudden, violent sense'? I'm not suggesting we single out protons or neutrons, or assign some simple rubric like hydrogen=2 helium=3... a prime-oriented firmament might be more subtle than that. OR perhaps what we have concluded to be the varying neutron count of isotopes has more to do with factorability of the whole than a simple presence of discrete things?

Could there be more than meets the eye [youtube.com] ?

Re:Counting protons... like so many sheep (-1, Offtopic)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 7 months ago | (#46914103)

Score -1 Offtopic my shiny metal ass.

Offtopic and Overrated are the TL;DR of moderation. I hope some day they develop a spray for it.

Re:Counting protons... like so many sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46914611)

I'll be honest, I had to read that a few times to really understand the thought process behind it, but that's a really interesting, and entirely plausible classification... I need to do more research.

Re:Counting protons... like so many sheep (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about 7 months ago | (#46917673)

I'll be honest, I had to read that a few times to really understand the thought process behind it, but that's a really interesting, and entirely plausible classification... I need to do more research.

(We're talking about THIS MESSAGE [slashdot.org] , in case Slashdot's moderators have completely hidden it from view) Thanks kindly for reading it. I feel like I'm in a schoolyard surrounded by bullies. For one thing, you cannot mention sheep these days without jabbing emotional buttons and hasty readers think you are trying to be insulting and lobbing -1 Flamebait epithets at people. Sheep as in counting sheep. We're talking about ordinal numbers, counting sheep. I'm not trying to insult anyone! Get it? Good. Baaaah.

Numerical prime-ness also crops up in dimension count. We directly perceive the existence of a 'stable' 3-dimensional space. The most elaborate universe model that has yet been constructed on a backboard is M-Theory [wikipedia.org] and Supersymnetry [wikipedia.org] which posits a maximum of 11 dimensions of spacetime which may include 7 higher dimensions, interaction between membranes of 2 and 5 dimensions --- I'm not trying to knit it all together or declare it sound, merely pointing out the obvious prevalence of primes.

So is our reality built upon a quiet firmament of ordinal components... like a delicate machine constructed by a patient hand on a table in a room somewhere, which is sending you down the rabbit hole again because you have to ask, where did all that order come from?

Or does our reality consist a stable island in a sea of chaos, its apparent-stability arising from the perfect mathematical resonance of primes that cannot be factored? Perhaps... the exchange of energies in higher-than-three dimensions creating a fractal noise that would have reduced everything to noise, by a process akin to factorization, if it were not for the meta-existence of prime-ness?

That's the question I'm having a difficult time putting out to everyone here.

What the hell do you mean 'best contender'? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46913935)

Does it have 117 protons or not?!

The best contender yet... (2)

Brucelet (1857158) | about 7 months ago | (#46914201)

Well with a name like that, it's not like there was much competition. Ununhexium tried, but he just didn't have enough in him.

Re:The best contender yet... (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 7 months ago | (#46918571)

He wasn't positive enough!

sounds too much like unobtainium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46914557)

The new element sounds like the mythical and incredibly expensive material IBM uses to manufacture incredibly expensive and easily breakable parts: Unobtainium. You can't get anything that is similar. The part is unique, fragile, and worth millions per copy (half the cost of the entire assembly).

Meanwhile.. (2)

_hAZE_ (20054) | about 7 months ago | (#46915215)

Meanwhile, the "IUPAPC" was still operating under their very literal name, International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and Chemistry. They have applied with the Advanced Center Reportedly Of Naming Your Movement (ACRONYM), however the application is still pending certification.

Re:Meanwhile.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46915441)

Last I heard IUPAPC's bacronym was denied for similarity: ACRONYM Chemical Research Only Needs Your Money.

Re:Meanwhile.. (1)

ramorim (1257654) | about 7 months ago | (#46924333)

Last I heard IUPAPC's bacronym was denied for similarity: ACRONYM Chemical Research Only Needs Your Money.

So, that's a Recursive ACRONYM :)

Don't get your hopes up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46915401)

I think Spartainum-117 is a pretty cool element,
Eh kills aleins and doesn't afraid of anything.

However, Elerium was supposed to be 115, and they just wouldn't let it happen, so...

Daltonium (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 7 months ago | (#46915829)

It's an obvious thing, yet apparently wilfully ignored: Dalton, the first scientist to come up with a recognisable modern atomic theory, is not honoured in the naming of the elements, yet all sorts of (no doubt worthy, but obscure) physicists have been, and even having their universities honoured (Berkelium, Lawrencium, etc). It's really about time this oversight was corrected. Personally I feel it should have been done for something a lot more common and 'early', but as we're now mopping up the tail-enders, so be it.
Let's hear it for Daltonium!

Re:Daltonium (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 7 months ago | (#46917445)

Dalton already has a unit named after him (the unit used to indicate atomic/molecular mass), although it is not an SI unit...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

Star Wars Day (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 7 months ago | (#46915943)

It's May the 4th, this element has the highest Protonian count ever observed, so I suggest Anakinium.

Naming (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 7 months ago | (#46920833)

I again politely ask the next door scientists to consider naming the new element for the castle ruin just south of Darmstadt. Frankensteinium has such a nice ring to it.

Misread the title for Unobtainium (1)

protoporos (900257) | about 7 months ago | (#46927087)

For a moment there, I thought they discovered Unobtainium [wikipedia.org] and thought... wtf, we'll be drilling for the core [wikipedia.org] of the earth soon... :)

Element 117? Johnium perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47006839)

Johnium, referencing the Halo series of course. The Master Chief is also known as John-117.
And last I checked, there isn't an element starting with ''J'' yet.

mc máy in ti Hà Ni (1)

honey 2 (3655687) | about 6 months ago | (#47014675)

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