Gazrok: actually, in chemical parlance when you synthesize an element (or a molecule) you actually do make exactly that element (or molecule)...it's
only when you get to large objects (say, fake diamonds) that synthesize starts to mean "make a good, but not perfect copy of" instead of "put this
the only real way for the element 115 story to pan out, unfortunately for lazar and company, is if there's a stable isotope that hasn't been
synthesized yet; the advantage of naturally-occurring materials -- and especially the heavier elements and their compounds -- is that the samples
we've found are almost always "still here" after a couple billion of years, and thus we tend to find only the stable isotopes. as a hypothetical
example to make this point really clear, it might be possible to synthesize somthing like 50-eterium (a made up word for a hydrogen atom with 50
neutrons in it) but it'd be so unstable it'd last practically 0 seconds...and in some sense that's why we never find 50-terium in nature.
so for stuff we can go out and just dig up, there's enough of it around that any remotely stable isotope is likely to turn up, if only in trace
quantities, and thus as far as we know the stable elements are exactly those we find in nature. when we synthesize non-naturally occurring elements --
especially the very unstable 100+ proton elements -- we have less control over the isotopes we're forming. for example, so far only the 287 and 288
isotopes of 115 have been formed: Unumpentium
and we can't conclusively
state that there aren't other, stabler isotopes.
so far it doesn't look good for that hypothesis, though...like pretty much the rest of Lazar's story, unfortunately. his physics are less fuzzy than
just weak; the most credit i can give him -- like i think i said earlier in a different thread -- is that he has about the physics knowledge of an
electrician (like the guys who wire buildings) and maybe got an informal explanation of some advanced stuff (his gravity B waves sounds like the
strong nuclear force) and tried so sell it as more than it was. that's when i'm feeling charitable; usually i just assume he's a hoaxer.
as usual, I'm rambling, but the point of this post was supposed to be: to make your question more accurate, Gazrok, you want to ask "how do we know
that there isn't some isotope of 115 that's more stable than the ones we've made so far", as that's a valid question...at the atomic level to the
best of our knowledge the construction of atoms is pretty much like legos that the variables you're mentioning don't matter (or really even exist
for an individual element).
Edit: SpookyVince beat me to the punch and was more succint, too. cheers!
[edit on 17-12-2004 by sisonek]