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Matter & Energy

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bismuth

CONDUCTIVE CRYSTAL  A pure crystal of bismuth, like this cube (right), superconducts below 5 ten-thousandths of a kelvin, scientists report. Impure crystals of bismuth display iridescent patterns due to layers of oxidation that form on their surface (left).

silicon-based life illustration

FREAKY FUTURE Is silicon-based life (illustrated above) out there in the universe? The jury is still out — but with a little help from humans, life on Earth might be able to sprinkle a little silicon in with its carbon.

periodic table

NEW NAMES The periodic table’s newest elements now have names. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved the names nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og) on November 28.

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