Latest in Science

Image credit:

Scientists confirm the existence of the heaviest element ever seen

1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

It's tricky to verify the existence of super heavy elements; you have to fuse very short-lived materials, hope you get some useful atoms, and wait for someone else to reproduce your achievement. However, scientists at a particle accelerator lab in Germany have managed that rare feat by creating and confirming Element 117, the heaviest substance observed so far. It was produced by smashing together thousands of calcium 48 and berkelium 249 atoms, and is about 40 percent heavier than lead.

Not that you'll get to see the fruits of that labor in person. The team created just four atoms, and those examples decayed into other elements within milliseconds. Even so, that should be enough to get Element 117 both a proper spot on the periodic table and a better name than the rather awkward "Ununseptium." The decay also produced isotopes of additional elements whose half-life could be measured in hours, which is exceptionally long -- that suggests that there are undiscovered super heavy materials that could be relatively stable.

[Image credit: Guillaume Speurt/My Last Destination, Flickr]

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
1 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

View
Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

View
Google's next Nest Mini speaker could be wall-mountable

Google's next Nest Mini speaker could be wall-mountable

View
Microsoft tests more control for apps that restart with Windows 10

Microsoft tests more control for apps that restart with Windows 10

View
Terminator T-800 and The Joker are coming to 'Mortal Kombat 11'

Terminator T-800 and The Joker are coming to 'Mortal Kombat 11'

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr