IUPAC, the governing body for the official periodic table of elements, has announced the addition of four new elements to the table: ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, and ununoctium. Those are working names…the teams that discovered each element has been invited to name them.
The proposed names and symbols will be checked by the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC for consistency, translatability into other languages, possible prior historic use for other cases, etc. New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.
Ununoctium is so unstable that its half-life is 0.89 milliseconds and only three or four atoms of the substance have been produced in the past 10 years.
Google Research built an interactive periodic table of the elements where you can see the relative amounts of the elements as found in the human body, in the sea, and, most interestingly, by the number of mentions in books.
If you’ve ever wondered why the periodic table is shaped the way it is, click on “electrons” under “Shape” and pay attention to the number of electrons in the outer shells in each column of elements. Amazingly, when Dmitri Mendeleev and German chemist Julius Meyer published the first periodic tables in 1869/1870, the elements were organized only by atomic weights and chemical properties; they didn’t know what an electron was and certainly weren’t aware of quantum shells of electrons. (via @djacobs)
The elements located in the upper reaches of the periodic table are notable for their short half-lives, the amount of time during which half the mass of an element will decay into lighter elements (and other stuff). For instance, the longest lived isotope of fermium (#100) has a half-life of just over 100 days. More typical is bohrium (#107)…its half-life is only 61 seconds. The elements with the highest numbers have half-lives measured in milliseconds…the half-life of ununoctium (#118) is only 0.89 milliseconds.
So why do chemists and physicists keep looking for heavier and heavier elements if they are increasingly short-lived (and therefore not that useful)? Because they suspect some heavier elements will be relatively stable. Let’s take a journey to the picturesque island of stability.
In nuclear physics, the island of stability is a set of as-yet undiscovered heavier isotopes of transuranium elements which are theorized to be much more stable than some of those closer in atomic number to uranium. Specifically, they are expected to have radioactive decay half-lives of minutes or days, with “some optimists” expecting half-lives of millions of years.
I would be fucking remiss in my duties here if I didn’t inform you of this bloody awesome periodic table of swearing, you bunch of stupid old wankers.
There’s goddamned prints available. (via clusterflock)
Sam Kean is blogging the periodic table of elements over at Slate.
Starting today, I’ll be posting on a different element each weekday (the blog will run through early August), starting with the racy history of an element we’ve known about for hundreds of years, antimony, and ending on an element we’ve only just discovered, the provisionally named ununseptium. I’ll be covering many topics-explaining how the table works, relaying stories both funny and tragic, and analyzing current events through the lens of the table and its elements. Above all, I hope to convey the unexpected joys of the most diverse and colorful tool in all of science.
If you like that, Kean has written a whole book on the topic.
A periodic table of awesomeness featuring Bacon as element #1, Laser as #21, and Black Holes as #82. I like bacon. Bacon is a close personal friend of mine. But can’t we keep this overexposed pork product out of it for once? (via rw)
The Periodic Table of Videos is a collection of videos about all the elements. All your favorites are there…Neon, Rubidium, Lead, Plutonium.
I did embarrassingly bad on this Elements of the Periodic Table quiz. I blanked after naming 17 elements in 2 minutes. Oh, and xylophone is not an element! My physics degree should be retroactively unawarded. (via mouser)
Periodic table of rejected elements, including Belgium, Antipathy, Visine, and Antigone. (via del.icio.us via kottke.org 8 years ago (it’s the time of year for recycled links, I guess))
An account of the discovery of Einsteinium and Fermium, elements 99 and 100 on the periodic table. They were generated by the detonation of Mike, the first hydrogen bomb to be tested.
Philip Stewart has constructed an alternate version of the periodic table of elements in the form of a “chemical galaxy”. “The intention is not to replace the familiar table, but to complement it and at the same time to stimulate the imagination and to evoke wonder at the order underlying the universe.”