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"Two new elements have been produced," said Walt Loveland, an Oregon State University nuclear chemist familiar with the research. "It's just incredibly exciting. It seems to open up the possibility of synthesizing more elements beyond this."
The experiments took place at a cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator, in Dubna, where the scientists fired a rare isotope of calcium at americium, an element used in applications as varied as nuclear-weapons research and household smoke detectors. Four times during a month of 24-hour-a-day bombardment in July and August, scientists on the experiment said, a calcium nucleus fused with an americium nucleus and created a new element.
Each calcium nucleus contains 20 protons; americium contains 95. Because the number of protons determines where an element goes in the periodic table, simple addition shows the new element to bear the atomic number 115, which never had been seen.
Within a fraction of a second, the four atoms of Element 115 decayed radioactively to an element with 113 protons. That element never had been seen, either. The atoms of 113 lasted for as long as 1.2 seconds before decaying radioactively to known elements.