Science writers like to make hay when scientists see something that’s, ya know, never been seen before by humans and stuff. But this (NYT, reg. req.) is about as genuinely “never been seen before” as it gets: two new elements, 115 and 113 (nominally “Ununtrium and Ununpentium” for now) created in a lab in Russia. 113 is especially what the physicists would describe as “long-lived”, and by that they mean a second. Blip. We’ll not be building furniture out of that one. But they do seem to exist on what Kenton J. Moody, one of the scientists involved in the experiment described as “the shoals of the island of stability,” an area where physicists theorize that stuff will live a bit longer.
What’s with this “unun-” nomenclature, and the 3-letter symbols. I’ve never seen that before….
Nor have I. Glanz waves it away with a quick “By an international convention based on the numbers”, but I’m not familiar with it.
But I sure love the names!
it’s the IUPAC/IUPAP provisional name based on some greco-roman naming scheme. once a new element has been synthesized, the joint group determines who did it first and those people suggest a name.
why is this such a big deal? if it doesnt prove anything, then why does everyone care so much?
Because it’s a new element, the periodic tables around the world will be changed! also the science text books too!
Ununtrium and Ununpentium are the Latin pronunciation for the elements’ atomic numbers. 1,1,3 and 1,1,5 are un,un,tri and un,un,pent, respectively. The “ium” tacked on the end signifies that they are metals.