News of the WeekNuclear Physics

Berkeley Crew Bags Element 118

Science  11 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5421, pp. 1751
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5421.1751

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Physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California announced earlier this week that they have created two new superheavy elements, tipping the scales at 118 and 116 protons. The new heavyweights come as something of a surprise, as standard theories had suggested that the technique used to create them--fusing two medium-weight nuclei at a relatively low energy--should top out at 112. The team's success suggests that the method may produce even weightier elements, with atomic numbers 119 and beyond.