Element 117 Coming Closer to Receiving a NameCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: May 5, 2014 08:13AM
No doubt everyone who has attended a chemistry class is familiar with the Periodic Table and learned about its shape and the different elements that are listed on it. Quite likely you also learned that not all of the elements on it exist in Nature, and thus some require humans create them. One of these man-made elements, which was first discovered by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, has come closer to being given more than a temporary name.
The information on the Periodic Table is important for many applications, so it is essential that whatever is on it is accurate. For this reason the process of officially naming and adding an element to the table is not a simple one. Element 117 was first discovered in 2010 and at the time it quickly decayed into elements 113 and 115. Now researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research have repeated the experiment and observed the previously reported decaying. If that is accepted by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry as confirmation that 117 was found, the process of naming it can begin.
As superheavy elements like element 117 are extremely short lived, it is unlikely we will see any direct benefits from this discovery. However it does still increase our knowledge of the Universe, and it is still pretty exciting to discover a new element.