Researchers take an element off the table

9:27am, August 1, 2001

Reach for your Magic Marker: The periodic table has lost an element.

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley (Calif.) National Laboratory have retracted their claim from 2 years ago that they had created the heaviest member of the periodic table so far–element 118. The retraction dims hopes that scientists will soon find a cache of superheavy elements that would make uranium seem like a lightweight.

In 1999, the Berkeley team had reported the creation of three atoms of element 118 in a particle accelerator (SN: 6/12/99, p. 372; At that time, the group concluded that each fleeting atom of element 118 rapidly decayed into other elements, including never-before-seen element 116.

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