Monday, September 23, 2013

Chemistry in the news: A New Element

Ununpentium, Uup, was released as a new element this past August in the journal "The Physical Review Letters" although the evidence for its existence was gathered in 2004 by scientists in Russia.  It was not until recently that the elements atomic number had been found to be 115 and it could be added to the periodic table of elements.Its name literally means "one-one-five" (The New Yorker).
In the lab scientists "blasting calcium ions... at a film of americum" in order to measure the particles of light, or the photons, that were given off during the quick decay of the element (The Huffington Post). It has no useful function at this point and is very unstable, its half life is only a fleeting 173 milliseconds. However, this was a very important experiment because it allowed scientists to better understand the structure and properties of other "super-heavy" elements and how elements in general work.

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