Thursday, June 9, 2011

The element of surprise

Did you hear? We got new elements! Numbers 114 and 116.

If you have a collection of elements -- and who doesn't -- you need to update it.
In contrast to more familiar elements like carbon, gold and tin, the new ones are short-lived. Atoms of 114 disintegrate within a few seconds, while 116 disappears in just a fraction of a second, Moody said.

Both elements were discovered by a collaboration of scientists from Livermore and Russia. They made them by smashing calcium ions into atoms of plutonium or another element, curium. The official recognition, announced last week, cites experiments done in 2004 and 2006.
That might seem odd, that experiments were conducted 5-7 years ago and they've just now made them official. And they still don't have names.

But, think about it: Barack Obama was born in 1961 and it took 50 years for anyone to find a birth certificate. So those new elements are actually ahead of the game.

So, what should we call these elements?

Number 114 is in the carbon group, which includes carbon (of course), silicon, germanium, tin, and lead. It's been called "ununquadium," which is a silly name. It sounds like something they made up for Star Trek -- the Voyager Star Trek, not the real Star Trek.

Number 116 is a chalcogen, along with oxygen, sulfur, selenium, tellurium, and polonium. It's been called ununhexium, which is like 7-Up, the Uncola, only with hexium instead of cola and twice the un.

They are some proposed names for these elements:
The discoverers at Dubna, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, in Russia have proposed the name flerovium for 114, after Soviet element-finder Georgy Flyorov, and moscovium for 116, after Russia’s Moscow region.
If Ronald Reagan was president, we wouldn't put up with naming elements for a bunch of Ruskies. There were 3 elements discovered during Reagan's time in office -- Bohrium, Meitnerium, and Hassium -- none named for Russians. Dubnium (105), discovered in 1970, was named for a Russian town, but that wasn't made official when Clinton was in the White House.

We need to come up with some good names for these new elements. Like what? Like these:
While these might be cool names, you may have some better ideas. Let's here them.

1 comment:

  1. "Huminahuminahuminium"
    Name the other "Oneathesedaysium".


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