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An element known as “ununseptium” (Latin for “117-ness”) exists now that a team of scientists were able to materialize it in a cyclotron.
It happened at the Dubna cyclotron, north of Moscow. The team will report in the journal Physical Review Letters that they have been able to create six atoms of unuseptium by colliding isotopes of calcium (20 on the periodic table) and berkellium (97), which exists only in minute quantities.
Adding up the number of protons gives us the number 117.
According to an editorial in the New York Times
In a sense, these scientists are continuing the work of the Big Bang and subsequent supernovas — the crucibles in which the naturally occurring elements were formed. The first 92 elements, ending with uranium, are stable enough to build a universe upon. The elements discovered since then have, for the most part, had shorter and shorter lives, often measured in milliseconds.
So scientists are creating these new elements. They are pushing their way into a new region of the periodic table. They are discovering elemental lifetimes that last longer and longer. This raises questions about the number of elements, and their possible uses, with which it may someday be possible to work.
The name ununseptium is a provisional name. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry must confirm the discovery. They will then give the element its permanent name.
Naming an element can take time. Element 112, which was observed first in 1996 received its name — copernicium — two months ago.
my source is an editorial in the NY Times on 4/12/2010. http://www.nytimes.com
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