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Element 114 Verified 142

ExRex writes "A team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has observed the production of superheavy element 114, confirming the results of researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. Those researchers first reported producing element 114 in 1999. Such independent verification is important, particularly given the evidence of fabricated results for other superheavy elements. If you're a subscriber to Physical Review Letters, you can download the full article."
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Element 114 Verified

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  • by cryfreedomlove ( 929828 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:03PM (#29818105)
    Mr. President, we cannot allow an Element 114 gap!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's HEAVY.

    • by k3vlar ( 979024 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:36AM (#29820603)

      That's HEAVY.

      There's that word again; "heavy". Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?

    • There's an interesting caveat to calling this element heavy. Just because it has 114 protons doesn't necessarily mean that it's "heavy". The "heaviest" elements are the densest ones, which tend to fall in the middle of the transition metals. If I recall correctly, 114 falls on the on the right side of the transition metals, so it might not be all that "heavy". There are reasons why this happen, something about the f-orbitals actually allowing atoms to get closer to one another, but it's been a long time
  • by Anonymous Coward

    We already know how many electrons and protons there are gonna be -- why not just publish the formula and the basic properties like Mendeleyev used to do?

  • just great. (Score:5, Funny)

    by stupidsocialscientis ( 689586 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:07PM (#29818153)
    now i need a new periodic table
  • by __aagctu1952 ( 768423 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:07PM (#29818159)

    Fine, fine, element 114 has been verified. Now, if they could just get a move on with element 115, we could make our UFO Power Sources work and finally get those Firestorms into the air. We're practically defenseless against the sectoids!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Damn I loved that game. Link [xcomufo.com] for those of you who don't get the joke, now go play it in DOSbox.

    • To this day I have nightmares about the Chryssalids. It's like an Alien Zombie apocalypse rolled into one nightmarish black killing machine. Science can't save us, nothing can save us, we're doomed, DOOOOOMED!

      • To this day I have nightmares about the Chryssalids.

        I remember my first Chryssalid encounter; it was at a mall Terror-site. My units had laser pistols and no armor, and there were zombies all over. "Weird", I thought, then I shot a zombie at point blank range. Oops.

        • by hitmark ( 640295 )

          let me guess, you second encounter with them involved lots and lots of firebombs, and no civilans alive?

    • by icebike ( 68054 )

      We already have element 115: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ununpentium [wikipedia.org]

      But it was uninteresting.

      Personally, I'm drawn to The 5th Element.

      http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/thefifthelement/ [sonypictures.com]
      Yes, especially the 5th...

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        [joke about Boron]

        • [joke about Boron]

          I know the intent was based on the actual periodic table, but it is used in a cult movie I need to mention. I think even on slashdot it might be a bit obscure movie: Gamers: Dorkness Rising [imdb.com].

          It is a movie about gamers (mostly the in game adventures their characters are having) and the players social interactions. It is an indy film and is very good. I attend GenCon every year and get to see many of these kinds of films and it is one of the best.

          The full quote from the film (if I can fully remembe

    • What we really need next is Element 119 [wikia.com] ;-)

  • Odd (Score:2, Informative)

    by MSDos-486 ( 779223 )
    Didn't the team that falsified the info about 114 and 116 come from Lawrence Livermoore
    • Correction from Lawrence Berkley
    • Didn't the team that falsified the info about 114 and 116 come from Lawrence Livermoore

      What is the chain of thought that leads researchers to that level of fraud? Eventual exposure and disgrace is always the most likely outcome.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by EdIII ( 1114411 ) *

        What is the chain of thought that leads researchers to that level of fraud? Eventual exposure and disgrace is always the most likely outcome.

        Yeah, but until the exposure and disgrace the get to use their new found Science Street Cred and massive fame and accompanying financial rewards to score with uber-hot Science Groupies.


      • "Oh my God, NO results? I've been working on this fucking shit for 4 years! How the fuck are there no results? What the shit do I tell the boss??"
  • Stupid question from a non-physicist -- What is the point in synthesizing elements with half lives measured in seconds if not microseconds?
    • by Renraku ( 518261 )

      Some isotopes of them might be stable. The properties of these stable isotopes might be desirable. Imagine if we found an exotic super-heavy element that was stable and easy to fission? We might be able to work it into the nuclear reprocessing chain and squeeze some more energy out.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Yeah you might be able to make Helium fuse. I can't wait. On the upside I probably wouldn't see it coming.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:14PM (#29818231) Homepage
      A variety of reasons. First of all, because it is interesting and fun. Why do you think people are searching for very large prime numbers? http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/10/15/154227/12M-Digit-Prime-Number-Sets-Record-Nets-100000 [slashdot.org] Do you think they are all doing this because of possible benefits to abstract areas of number theory any more than people climb Everest for practical reasons? Second, seeing that these elements match up to our predictions help us get a better understanding of physics. Third, there is some reason to suspect that there may be farther ahead islands of stability where the elements become more stable again. While it is unlikely that those areas are stable enough for those elements to live long enough to be of practical use, the chance otherwise is not tiny. So there may be direct practical benefits. But the main reasons are because it is cool and humans are ever curious creatures.
      • by sleeponthemic ( 1253494 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:30PM (#29818399) Homepage

        Why do you think people are searching for very large prime numbers?

        The nookie.. obviously.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ndogg ( 158021 )

          And that's why I want to be a mathematician. For the ladies!

          They love it when I integrate with them. And months after that, we'll derive!

          And years later, we'll try to figure out why nothing has changed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wvmarle ( 1070040 )

        Those "islands of stability" have been predicted long time ago. What I don't understand is why those researchers do not try to make those elements, instead of the intermediate ones.

        Afaik making those superheavy elements is done by fusing lighter ones. Not by building them up brick-by-brick (or proton/neutron by proton/neutron). So I wonder why not just go for the ones that are predicted to be more stable? Is there something we need to know from slightly-less-heavy elements that we can't predict before maki

        • by wizardforce ( 1005805 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:45PM (#29819077) Journal

          Well it's not like they're purposely missing the target here... They've tried to make isotopes with a higher n/p ratio near the island of stability it's just that it's hard to find two high n/p isotopes to smash together to make a larger one. As you go toward higher elements the n/p ratio needs to be larger to afford more stable isotopes. This means that you'd effectively need to smash two isotopes together that have n/p ratios ideal for higher elements but markedly unstable for lower elements. THen there's the problem that when you smash two isotopes together to make these higher elements, it often knocks out a few neutrons from the composite nucleus due to the sheer high energies involved. This means that you'd probably have to use lower isotopes that have even higher n/p ratios that just don't last very long. (they're very unstable) Of course you'd think that you could just keep adding neutrons or tritium nuclei repeatedly to get higher elements but that doesn't work either as it usually ends up causing a fission reaction. In fact, the vast majority of any reactions attempted so far to produce higher elements has resulted in an inordinate number of composite nuclei undergoing fission immediately. Out of 10^12 reactions, you'd be fairly lucky to find one of them actually producing an isotope of a higher element.

        • What I don't understand is why those researchers do not try to make those elements, instead of the intermediate ones.

          Probably never occurred to them. We should get rid of these so called experts and replace them with random internauts, taxi drivers and old gits in bars. Thay always have the answers.

    • by tim_darklighter ( 822987 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:14PM (#29818233)
      Well, the closer we can get to finding an island of stability [wikipedia.org], the better.
      • So why don't we see those stable elements in nature?

        • Just because we don't find them in earth-bound surface-accessible "nature" doesn't mean they don't exist somewhere in the universe - perhaps somewhere out there was a heavier supernova that produced element 114 or higher.

        • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:45PM (#29818545) Homepage
          They would only be produced in supernova and in vanishingly small quantities. This isn't as unreasonable as it sounds. We've had cases of elements discovered first in stars and then on Earth (helium) but we've also had the reverse where an element has been discovered on Earth and after having a better idea what we are looking for we find it in stars. However, even if these more stable elements exist they would not be at all common. Supernova aren't very efficient producers of heavy elements. They have trouble producing elements much past uranium because stars can't get so big and they aren't deliberately smashing things together repeatedly.
        • Predicted half-lives are in the order of hours, maybe days. That's why. That's also why many of the lighter elements we can make artificially are not (or barely) present in nature. Think of all the elements used in radiotherapy and so, they also tend to have half-lives in the order of hours or days.

        • by Nazlfrag ( 1035012 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:25PM (#29818925) Journal

          Perhaps the same reason we don't see astronomically common stable elements like Tellerium.

          From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tellurium [wikipedia.org]:

          The extreme rarity of tellurium in the Earth's crust is not a reflection of its cosmic abundance, which is in fact greater than that of rubidium, even though rubidium is ten thousand times more abundant in the Earth's crust. The extraordinarily low abundance of tellurium on Earth is because during the Earth's formation, the stable form of elements in the absence of oxygen and water was controlled by the oxidation and reduction of hydrogen. Under this scenario elements such as tellurium which form volatile hydrides were severely depleted during the formation of the Earth's crust through evaporation. Tellurium and selenium are the heavy elements mostly depleted in the Earth's crust by this process.

          • Under this scenario elements such as tellurium which form volatile hydrides were severely depleted during the formation of the Earth's crust through evaporation.

            So space stinks of something like garlic and bad eggs?

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why don't we see Plutonium or Neptunium in nature? Because despite there being "stable" isotopes with half-lives measured in millions of years, the age of the Earth is several orders of magnitude greater than that. Any isotope with a half-life less than about 30 million years would be completely decayed over the current age of the Earth (~4.5 billion years), even if it began as abundant as Iron (nearly 1/3 of Earth's mass) not a single atom would remain today.

          The isotopes in the "island of stability" would

      • by 4D6963 ( 933028 )

        Or the next one :

        “The next island is located very far from the first one,” said Oganessian. How far away might that next island be" In terms of numbers on the periodic table, it could lie around atomic number 164, as some theorists predicted, certainly a long way from where researchers are exploring today in hopes of discovering element 120. (from here [physorg.com])

      • I have no idea what nothin means 'bout nuthin, but all this theoretical shit means nuthin, until you hit the jackpot.

        Then, we get the magical stuff to built space elevators, time machines, and whatnot, right?

        All joking aside, you don't know what weird shit is good for, until you have enough of it to play around with to find out, right?
    • by physburn ( 1095481 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:43PM (#29819063) Homepage Journal
      Most of the transuranic elements, are super unstable nucleii, that decay in second. According the nuclear shell theory, certain nucleii with magic numbers of either protons or neutron or both, would be extra stable, maybe stable enough to be a useful radioisotope. Proton numbers 110,114 and 126 are sure magic numbers. So finding element 114 should help confirm the theory, unfortunately its very hard to make such an element with enough neutrons, so the isotopes confirmed today are neutron short and only last a few second, 288 and 288 Uuq 114, better than the near by isotopes that only last milliseconds, but to short even to be chemically analysed. 298 Uuq 114, (ten neutrons more), is the on that is predicted to be to extra stable.


      Nuclear Power [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

    • because eventually we're going to find one that *is* stable, and the chemistry world will got tits over assholes to learn more about it. At great entertainment value to the rest of the world.
  • Such independent verification is important, particularly given the evidence of fabricated results for other superheavy elements.

    Unfortunately, the article that story is pointing to claiming that it was fraud rather than error has expired from Yahoo's site. Do you have a better link?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    this guy had time to make a youtube video on the subject

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX-gqFChAyk [youtube.com]

  • Great! Only one more to go and we can start researching powersuits and UFO construction.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    To Elerium-115!


  • by StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:31PM (#29818407) Homepage Journal

    An old Poul Anderson story, Mirkheim, used a stable superheavy element, eka-platinum, as a Maguffin.

    In the novel, the stuff was produced in a supernova. A gas giant planet was walloped by the explosion, blowing away its atmosphere leaving a creamy nougat center very dense rocky core. The heavy elements produced by the supernova were plastered across its surface.

    As I recall, the planet's discovery by the galaxy's great powers caused a political crisis and the threat of war. The stuff was highly valued. The one use I recall was a hull plating used by hydrogen-breathing races.

  • Elerium (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kazymyr ( 190114 )

    One more to go till we get Elerium-115 [wikipedia.org].

  • Yeah, um, show us some photos! While you're at it, I wanna see Unnilquadium too! And if ya' got some time, how about some unobtainium?
  • I hear element 114 is highly radioactive.

    • by ae1294 ( 1547521 )

      I hear element 114 is highly radioactive.

      Really? ummm I've been painting my walls with it for years now and nothing bad has happened! makes a great night-light...

  • Could of sworn this was up 3 weeks ago on CNN. Slow news day?

  • So now, the original team gets to name it? With President Obama's global popularity right now, what do you think the odds of naming it Obamium are? Of course, I'd bet the Stephen Colbert will be on the show in a week calling for us to send these guys an email asking them to name it Colbertium ,... =)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:35PM (#29818993)

    I was pleased to read that Heino Nitsche is one of the project's lead researchers. His general chemistry course at Berkeley was very informative and enjoyable (and not just because he has a German accent and glorious mad scientist mustache [lbl.gov]); I've yet to meet someone who can get that excited about chemistry at 9 a.m. :)

    I still remember a story he told us during the unit on radioactivity and nuclear decay. One of his cats, sick with cancer, was treated with radioactive I-131. After the cat "cooled off" at the vet hospital, Heino took him home, nursed him back to health, and, like a true scientist, measured the cat's radioactivity every morning with a Geiger counter. Sure enough, the measured decay curve strongly matched the predicted one. The cat lived for several more years, too.

    If you want a brief overview of the history of heavy element synthesis, especially as it pertains to Berkeley, check out his lecture (47) on the subject [berkeley.edu].

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:03AM (#29819195) Journal

    Hey let's put it in the LHC and see what hap(&(*%&* NO CARRIER.

  • by Ukab the Great ( 87152 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:14AM (#29819285)

    Upon reading the headline, my first thought was "dammit, now Tom Lehrer's Elements Song [wikipedia.org] is even further behind."

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by minvaren ( 854254 )
      "...and there's many many others, but they haven't been discoooooovered" summarizes that nicely. :)
  • Or, what would you like as a name?
  • Once we find elerium, all the world's energy problems should be solved forever.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @08:47AM (#29822069) Homepage
    element discovers you!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.