Shades of Bob Lazar !!! (ref:
New `superheavy' elements reported
Researchers say they created 113 and 115 in Russia
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:51 p.m. ET Feb. 01, 2004
Russian and American scientists say they have created two
new "superheavy" elements that will reside at the extreme end of
chemistry's periodic table of elements.
Just a few atoms of the newly discovered elements, 113 and 115,
existed for split seconds after being created in a particle
accelerator. They represent unusual forms of matter with properties
that go well beyond those of the 92 elements that occur naturally on
Superheavies may be abundantly generated by supernova explosions in
stars. Or perhaps they were fused during the fiery moments that
signaled the dawn if the universe.
Here on the ground, such tiny amounts of superheavies formed in atom
smashers probably will never find an everyday use.
Yet their "birth" adds details to a broader and very competitive
scientific inquiry to establish a single, unified theory that would
explain the physical forces that govern the behavior of all matter.
Confirmation could take years
Data on the new elements will appear in the journal Physical Review
C, a publication of the American Physical Society that specializes in
The discoveries will not be fully accepted and added to textbooks
until other labs create the elements, a process that could take
months or even years.
Confidence in nuclear structure experiments was shaken when the
purported 1999 discovery of two elements was found to be false. But
other researchers familiar with the latest study said they were
confident in the results.
"The paper is solid," said Richard Casten, a Yale physicist and an
editor for the journal.
He described the techniques employed at the Joint Institute of
Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia and the Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory in California as "very tricky."
But Casten and others expressed confidence in the results and the
scientists involved, especially Yuri Oganessian, the Russian
physicist and lead author of the paper, for being able to interpret
the results of the particle collisions in the Russian cyclotron, or
circular accelerator, where the elements were created.
"I'm confident that the process was good," Casten said. "Yuri is a
very well respected and careful guy."
Efforts to reach Oganessian and other key members of the research
team Sunday were unsuccessful.
Calcium and americium fused
In the experiments, researchers fired a rare isotope of calcium at a
target made from americium. The new element 115 was created on
occasions when the nuclei of the calcium and americium fused.
In the artificial environs of the cyclotron, atoms of element 115,
now labeled Ununpentium, apparently lasted only a fraction of second
before it decayed into element 113. The atoms of element 113, known
as Ununtrium, persisted for more than 1 second.
The 115 and 113 are the new elements' atomic numbers, which refer to
the number of protons in their nuclei.
In nature, scientists theorize, they would belong to a special class
of superheavy elements known as the "region of stability" that have a
much longer life because the shell-like structure of their nuclei
contain the highest numbers of precisely arranged protons and
In 1999, California and Oregon State University researchers bombarded
a lead target with a beam of krypton ions. They reported detecting
three atoms of element 118, which then was the heaviest element
detected. They decayed almost instantly into element 116.
But two years ago, the claims were retracted after a scientist at the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was found to have fabricated
data. Physicist Victor Ninov was the only member of the lab's 16-
member team to be dismissed in the incident, and he is appealing the
Other researchers later created element 116.
In 1999, Russian researchers at Dubna discovered another superheavy
element 114 by bombarding plutonium with calcium ions.