November 6, 2011
Three New Elements Added To Periodic Table
The Periodic Table has gotten a little bit bigger, as the General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) voted to approve three new elements on Friday.
Those elements, according to Dennis Overbye of the New York Times, are darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg), and copernicium (Cn), which have 110, 111, and 112 protons, respectively.
None of the elements occur in nature. Rather, they were created at the GSI Society for Heavy Ion Research Laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany, by "bombarding heavy nuclei with beams of other atoms," Overbye reported in a November 4 article.
According to Jennifer Welsh of Live Science, the trio of elements are large and unstable -- so unstable, in fact, that scientists have been unable to experiment on them and know very little about them. Darmstadtium. roentgenium, and copernicium have been classified as Transuranium or "Super Heavy" elements, she added.
"The naming of these elements has been agreed in consultation with physicists around the world and we´re delighted to see them now being introduced to the Periodic Table," IUPAP Secretary General Dr. Robert Kirby-Harris told Telegraph Science Correspondent Richard Gray on Saturday.
According to Gray, copernicium, which was named after famed astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, was discovered in 1996 after German scientists smashed together zinc and lead. Both roentgenium and darmstadtium were discovered two years earlier. The former was named after Nobel Prize winning German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, while the latter was named after the city of Darmstadt, where it was discovered.
Welsh reported that approximately 75 atoms of copernicium have been created and detected to date, and that roentgenium had previously been known as unununium.
The approval of the three new elements took place during the IUPAP's General Assembly at the Institute of Physics in London on Friday, according to Gray. Members of the General Assembly are representatives of national academies and other scientific institutions from 60 different nations.
On the Net:
- International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP)
- GSI Society for Heavy Ion Research Laboratory
- Institute of Physics (IOP)