Scientists have added two new elements to the periodic table after a three-year review by governing bodies in chemistry and physics.The elements 114 and 116 as yet do not have a name, but they’re highly radioactive, and they exist for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms. Element 115 is still pending approval.
According to Wired:
They’re the heaviest members yet of the periodic table, with whopping atomic weights of 289 and 292 atomic mass units respectively. The previous heavyweight winners were copernicium (285) and roentgenium (272).
Details of the discovery have been published in the journal Pure and Applied Chemistry.
The first successful experiment that produced the elements happened in 1999, but it’s taken several years to get the relevant committees of scientists to verify and recognize the finding.
The discovery is the result of work conducted by two teams of researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, US.
Scientists made the discovery by spending years smashing together atoms with accelerators.
“All of these things are teaching us about the stability of matter and nuclei,” said Ken Moody, a chemist at Lawrence Livermore and one of the researchers on the U.S. team.