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Possible New Element Discovered

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posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 09:23 PM
So can anyone explain exactly what this could mean, is it a non-issue kind of like when buckyballs were discovered or could this really have some great implications in science?
Also, for any chemists or physicists in here, please dumb it down for us idiots


An international team of researchers may, just may, have made a radical breakthrough that could rewrite physics and chemistry textbooks.

They claim to have discovered a naturally occurring element with an atomic number (number of protons) of 122 — 30 notches on the periodic table ahead of uranium, long considered the heaviest naturally occurring element.

For decades, physicists have been making artificial elements in supercolliders, only to see most of their creations disintegrate within a short time.

Most elements above atomic number 100 are inherently unstable and get progressively more usntable as you travel upward. The highest discovered one, ununoctium or atomic number 118, has a half-life of 89 milliseconds.

• Click here to visit's Natural Science Center.

But according to theory, there exists an "island of stability" further out along the periodic table where certain configurations of protons and neutrons would create superheavy but also superstable elements.

posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 09:37 PM
This seems like a pretty remarkable find. To discover a new element could lead to advances in many areas - medicine, technology, weaponry (unfortunately).

I did find what I believe to be a mistake in the article, however. It says that the new element would be called 'ununbibium', but I believe that a partice with an atomic number of 122 would be called 'unbibium'.

I do hope that someone with an extensive background in chemistry could shed some additional light on the subject.

posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 10:12 PM
If this is real, it would lend support to the 'island of stability' theory that was proposed (I think by Seaborg?) that there could be very heavy elements that would be stable.

The properties of this element are likely similar to those in the same 'column' on the periodic table, since that is a common trend in elements (and in fact the way the periodic table was discovered/developed).

If real, and not an experimental mistake, the implications are potentially huge, depending on the properties of the element. Some elements, obviously, have more of an impact on technology (like silicon) than others, so it really depends on what the thing does. It also depends on how common the element is, and whether it can be produced synthetically. Even if it turns out to have amazing physical properties, if we can't find more than a few milligrams of it, who cares? And I'm betting that it has to be extremely rare, or we'd have found it by now.

posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 10:27 PM
I've done a couple of searches but there isnt to much information on this yet but from what I gather, what makes this significant is that it is naturally occurring and would surpass uranium as the heaviest element.
Apparently there are new elements created quite often but they last mere microseconds before disintegrating into other elements..
I wonder if it would be radioactive?
Thanks for the info btw

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 02:59 AM
I am not an expert by any means on this so don't take my word as gold on this.

Heavy elements are considered to be desirable because of the fact they pack in so much energy into such a dense area. When they use Uranium for a nuclear reaction they do it because it contains alot of energy in a tightly wound package. The heavier the element the more energy it has the potential of releasing.

They've made other elements that are heavier in super colliders but they don't last long enough to be of any use to us. If they can create an element that has an atomic mass increase of about 30% then that is a pretty big achievement! What makes that achievement so much more profound is that it appears this element may stay around long enough for us to see what we can do with it.

Look for someone more knowledgeable then me on this, but I thought I'd share the story as I understood it.

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 10:18 AM
By the by, the Foxnews article mentions a paper written by the involved physicist(s) that was posted on a popular, public math and physics website called last Thursday. I checked out the site and nothing came up for our new element 122, albeit I didn't check it until a few minutes ago , I'm guessing it was taken down, but did anybody see it? Was there anything worth while to somebody w/o a PhD?

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 10:57 AM
reply to post by DropShock

Shock, I checked that very same site last night right after I made this post and it wasnt there then.
I was wondering if maybe they meant it would be posted on the site this coming Thursday?

It would be great if this lead to new energy sources, maybe cold fusion could make a comeback lol..

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 11:57 AM
reply to post by Kr0n0s

I wish fusion was forthcoming as well, but this won't be it. Wrong end of the spectrum. Fusion is based on very light elements combining (fusing) into heavier ones. As far as nuclear fission, I doubt it would work as well as uranium there, since it is supposedly stable.

There's really no way of knowing what advances this might bring into play. It all depends on the properties. Perhaps super-conductive properties? Magnetic properties? Shielding from radiation? Or perhaps a catalyst function?

It is an amazing discovery, and one I have been anxiously awaiting. If nothing else, this could prove the 'stability island' principle as DragonsDemesne mentioned, and this could lead to other heavy elements being discovered. I'm not sure if the Periodic Table would be of much help in predicting exact properties, though, since the properties of the lighter elements themselves are unknown, due to their short half-lives.

What I am looking for is a better explanation of how elements are held together. I personally think the present model, while able to explain certain behaviors between particles, leaves a bit to be desired. After all, just adding in a mysterious force or two because the theory needs it seems to me to be slapping a bandaid on a gaping wound in said theory. Now with a much larger group of sub-atomics in a stable element, maybe the scientists and mathematicians will have more info to model on.

Great find, my thanks to the OP!


posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 01:02 PM
This chemist wants to see the work confirmed before saying much about the discovery. Here's a link to the paper:

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 01:51 PM
reply to post by HaTaX

That is a pretty good summary... the key point being how much heavier it is than the next natural occuring element.. uranium. We all know the impact that uranium has had on our civilization. Good reply *star*

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 03:24 PM
The important thing to keep in mind here is that atomic mass does not equate with radioactive decay - you won't find them turning Unbibium into a super bomb, or some kind of death ray (besides, an H-Bomb pretty much reaches the limit of destruction that anyone would need). I'm going to go ahead and predict that it will probably be more useful as a stepping stone to finding other superheavy elements and understanding atomic stability rather than for its practical applications.

edit: some links worth paging through:

Transuranic Elements
Element 122
The Island of Stability

Also, Uranium isn't the heaviest known naturally occurring element; it's just the one we're most familiar with.

[edit on 29/4/2008 by Thousand]

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 04:56 PM
reply to post by Thousand

Also, Uranium isn't the heaviest known naturally occurring element; it's just the one we're most familiar with.

My bad, I must've misunderstood the statement in the article.
Maybe there will be some more articles on this in the coming months, assuming its confirmed, hopefully something good will come out of this in the future.

I was curious about something though. Someone commented about the weights of some elements compared to lead, which we all know is very dense and heavy. I was wondering if someone could make a comparison between lead and say uranium or another heavy elements weights.
Say you put lead in something the size of a tea cup, it may weight about 1.5 lbs or so and gold maybe a little more.
What about Uranium or the densest element, whatever that one is?
Just curious, science was never my strong suit lol..

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 06:02 PM

Originally posted by Kr0n0s
I was wondering if someone could make a comparison between lead and say uranium or another heavy elements weights.
Say you put lead in something the size of a tea cup, it may weight about 1.5 lbs or so and gold maybe a little more.
What about Uranium or the densest element, whatever that one is?
Just curious, science was never my strong suit lol..

Yeah, comparing them is pretty straightforward. An element's mass is usually referred to as its Density (absolute measure) or its Specific Gravity (its density as compared to water's density, given as a ratio). Density is usually given in grams per cubic centimeter. There's about 237 cm³ in one cup and 454 grams in a pound, so if you multiply the density in grams per cubic centimeter by 0.522, you'll get the weight in pounds of one cup of the material.

Some heavier elements:

Density of Lead: 11.34 g/cm³ * 0.522 = 5.92 lbs/cup
Density of Gold: 19.3 g/cm³ * 0.522 = 10.1 lbs/cup
Density of Uranium: 19.1 g/cm³ * 0.522 = 9.97 lbs/cup
Density of Plutonium: 19.8 g/cm³ * 0.522 = 10.3 lbs/cup
Density of Neptunium: 20.45 g/cm³ * 0.522 = 10.7 lbs/cup

You can find most densities on Wikipedia. Most of the superheavies are so short lived that their densities are either speculative or unknown, so you can really only guess.

Does that help?

[edit on 29/4/2008 by Thousand]

posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 06:37 PM
reply to post by Thousand

Hey, thanks for that info Thousand, its interesting and a little surprising as I wasnt expecting gold to weigh that much and I suppose I expected Uranium to weigh a little more..
I didnt even think about checking wiki or something like that for this info, ill check it out later, im goin for some Chinese right now

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