Superheavy element 117 makes debut

International team fills gap in the periodic table

By Alexandra Witze, 12:18 PM April 6, 2010

Editor’s Note: Additional material was added to this story at 5 p.m. on April 6, 2010.

Physicists have reported synthesizing element 117, the latest achievement in their quest to create “superheavy” elements in the laboratory. A paper describing the discovery has been accepted for publication in Physical Review Letters.

A team led by Yuri Oganessian of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, reports smashing together calcium-48 — an isotope with 20 protons and 28 neutrons — a...

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