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First Superheavy Element Found In Nature

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the maybe-knock-of-high-fructose-corn-syrup dept.

Science 296

KentuckyFC writes "The first naturally occurring superheavy element has been found. An international team of scientists found several nuclei of unbibium in a sample of the naturally occurring heavy metal thorium. Unbibium has an atomic number of 122 and an atomic weight of 292. In general, very heavy elements tend to be unstable but scientists have long predicted that even heavier nuclei would be stable. The group that found unbibium in thorium say it has a half life in excess of 100 million years and an abundance of about 10^(-12) relative to thorium, which itself is about as abundant as lead." I'd also like it known that my spell checker did not know 'unbibium' before today, but it is now one word closer to encompassing all human knowledge.

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names (5, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223668)

Unbibium is the temporary name, of course. Eventually it will receive another name.

Since it's super-heavy and naturally-occurring, I suggest "Cowboynealium".

Re:names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223754)

If the abstract is anything to go by, it will be Internationalteamofscientistium.

Re:names (3, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223780)

Pretty Heavy ATom gets my vote

Re:names (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223834)

d00d, PHAT w00d be teh w00t.

Re:names (1)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223840)

I suggest "Cowboynealium".
the better one would be slashdotium/CmdrTacoium or avrixblogium.

Re:names (4, Funny)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224130)

Jumbonium. As if it could be called anything else.

Re:names (2, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224248)

I think this discovery calls for the fast-tracking of unbibium through the IUPAC committee that assigns real names to elements.

Re:names (2, Informative)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224294)

It may not even be Unibibium. Marinov et al write

Evidence was obtained for the existence of an isotope with a mass that matches the predictions for atomic mass number 292 and Z around 122.
The authors suggest that Ubiquadium (Eka Uranium, Z=124) is also a slim possibility.

Re:names (1)

woboyle (1044168) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224398)

Then there is that rare element found in coffee, Percolatium... :-)

Re:names (5, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224540)

Research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction normally taking less than a second, to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years. It does not decay, but undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes, not to mention multiple oxymorons.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. That hypothetical quantity might normally be called 'critical mass' but, in this unique case it is known as 'critical mess'.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (Am), another just-discovered element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

--------------------

A fart is nothing more than a turd in particulate form.

Re:names (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224612)

No, unbibium is very much liked, desired, wanted, and sought-after. Every scientist on the planet goes almost orgasmic at the sight of it. This makes it the exact opposite of Cowboy Neal (especially where females are concerned). So Coboynealium has no chance as its name.

hubris (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223682)

"one word closer to encompassing all human knowledge" Only insofar as the English language alone captures it.

Re:hubris (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223808)

You spelled "humor" as "hubris".

Re:hubris (1)

fracai (796392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223832)

Yeah, my spell checker works by regular expressions and only flags items that don't match. It's really simple too.

.*

unbibium, def: (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223698)

'To consume more than one class of alcoholic beverage at a time'.

This has been known to university undergrads for centuries...

Just Unbibium? (2, Interesting)

REJOSU (759953) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223706)

Its quite amazing how singular Nuclei can be found-- What kind of procedures are used to identify specific elements. More importantly, were they only looking for Unbibium or any of the superheavy metals?

Re:Just Unbibium? (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224016)

You should try reading the article sometime, it is quite liberating.

From the article...
"What they did was fire one thorium nucleus after another through a mass spectrometer to see how heavy each was. Thorium has an atomic number of 90 and occurs mainly in two isotopes with atomic weights of 230 and 232. All these showed up in the measurements along with a various molecular oxides and hydrides that form for technical reasons."

Re:Just Unbibium? (2, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224472)

Scientist are still looking for several elements on the periodic table. The 'inventor' of the periodic table, Mendelev noticed that elements ordered on the table have certain mathematical properties against each other and thus calculated where certain elements should appear and what some of their properties should be (so they know what to look for). Of course, some (especially the super-heavy elements) are synthesized (although they might appear naturally but are not yet discovered) highly radioactive and some of them have very short half-lives (hours, seconds or even milliseconds).

Are we closer to the flying saucer? (5, Funny)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223708)

Didn't anyone from Area 51 said that a very heavy element like Ununpentium (115) was supposed to shield us from gravity, thus empowering us to create a flying saucer and travel to other stars and galaxies? I guess that Unbibium (122) is even better...

I am so excited!

Re:Are we closer to the flying saucer? (3, Funny)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223800)

Ah, gravity, my constant foe.

Re:Are we closer to the flying saucer? (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223934)

Quick! Someone call Art Bell!

Re:Are we closer to the flying saucer? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224510)

No, while working with Redmond, the folk at Area 51 released to the press a statement about Ununpentium 1.99, clearing the way for new math that would unempower us to create a flying saucer to travel the galaxy.

In a nod to this discovery, in Excel 2003, if you place the cursor on cell z-199 and press ctrl-alt-right_shift-ins while typing XFILES a little flying saucer icon will appear from the left side of the screen and then travel around the screen in the exact flight path that the first manned Mars mission will take.

Once you have completed this arduous task, z-100:z256 will forever be dedicated to processing data from SETI.

Re:Are we closer to the flying saucer? (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224594)

It might not be. Iron has a much bigger number than oxygen, yet it isn't making it a better gas for breathing. Wait, it is not even a gas!...

But I'm excited about 115 as well...

here is the wiki entry (2, Interesting)

OrochimaruVoldemort (1248060) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223720)

Unbibium [wikipedia.org] . It does not as of now have this article cited. someone be sure to correct that.

Re:here is the wiki entry (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224158)

You could always correct it yourself ;)

Valence electrons (4, Interesting)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224460)

The last electrons to go in are 5g electrons. So, these nuclei have the only non-excited 5g electrons. It adds another step to the periodic table. This is super neat.
Extra steps. [wikipedia.org]

Taco uses a spell checker! (5, Funny)

Ron Harwood (136613) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223726)

Christ - that should be a top level story unto itself... :D

Re:Taco uses a spell checker! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224058)

Well, he does... since about "15:10 Monday 28 April 2008". The spellchecker's database so far consists of exactly one entry: "unbibium". And, yes, that is "one word closer to encompassing all human knowledge". Even if it's, at the same time, exactly one word above zilch.

Obama heart William Ayers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224252)

I knew there was something fishy about Obama. Man, am I glad I didn't fall for the slick marketing campaign and hitch my wagon to that bum before he was thoroughly vetted. How many other America-haters are hiding in his closet? How 'bout that Jeremiah Wright spinning like a top yesterday? That guy's got a natural talent for politics! Hell, he's already got himself a mansion paid for by his "taxpayers" (congregation) - right smack in the middle of all the white devils he claims to hate!

Captcha is "illusion." Is this thing prophetic or what?

Have they discovered "bolonium" in nature yet ? (5, Funny)

The Sith Lord (111494) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223730)

I think its atomic weight it delicious ...

Re:Have they discovered "bolonium" in nature yet ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224486)

You mean Balonium, with the atomic weight being ridiculous.

super nova (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223734)

I'm assuming that elements this heavy are produced during a super nova, but nuclei this heavy are a bit extreme...

Anybody know the theory behind what conditions must be met for these nuclei to be formed in the wild?

Re:super nova (4, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223968)

Anybody know the theory behind what conditions must be met for these nuclei to be formed in the wild?
Well, when a mommy Uranium isotope and a daddy Zinc isotope love each other very much...

Actually, you know what, go ask your mother.

Awesome! (5, Funny)

squarefish (561836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223750)

"The group that found unbibium in thorium say it has a half life in excess of 100 million years and an abundance of about 10^(-12) relative to thorium, which itself is about as abundant as lead."

So how soon can we expect it to turn up in pet food and children's toys?

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223862)

So how soon can we expect it to turn up in pet food and children's toys?
Its already there - they just know what to call it now :)

Re:Awesome! (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224008)

So how soon can we expect it to turn up in pet food and children's toys?

Might be already. Thorium where it is found is a good and efficient nuclear fuel source. Relatively untapped as there are already stock piles of the stuff. Wiki has a little info on it as thorium [wikipedia.org] and in a reactor. [wikipedia.org] It actually amazes me we don't use Thorium more. But research would indicate the government chose Uranium because it is better to make bombs with.

Re:Awesome! (1, Offtopic)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224182)

The Alliance and Horde both have driven up the prices of Thorium to over 50 gold for a stack of 20 bars in some locales. It's just not economically feasible compared to fossil fuels. Yet.

Re:Awesome! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224250)

There are two major issues with thorium in nuclear reactors.

Firstly thorium itself is not fissile, but Uranium-233 which can be created from it is. Using thorium for nuclear fuel therefore requires a breeder reactor and associated reprocessing. At the moment this is more expensive than using enriched uranium in light water reactors, but it may change if the costs of reprocessing decrease.

The second problem is the reprocessing itself. The Uranium made from thorium will contain traces of highly radioactive gamma emitters, and current reprocessing techniques are unable to adequately shield the workers from this radiation. There is also very little experience with thorium based reprocessing.

When it comes from nuclear proliferation thorium reactors would need safeguarding just as a conventional reactor would. The main reason is that while thorium itself is not usable in nuclear weapons, the Uranium-233 which is breed from it would be quite suitable. If that were to prove unfeasible it would also be possible to use a highly-enriched U-233 core surrounded by a U-238 breeder blanket to produce Pu-239, used in plutonium based weapons.

Basically if you are going to run a nuclear reactor you will need safeguards to prevent proliferation. This need not be a reason why we can't use nuclear power, it just means we shouldn't give the technology to every dictatorship on the planet that is willing to sign a piece of paper.

Re:Awesome! (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224278)

We may have to wait for the Chinese to discover it first.

Re:Awesome! (1)

fellip_nectar (777092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224544)

So how soon can we expect it to turn up in pet food and children's toys?

I'm sure that in 2038, unbibium will be available at every corner drug store, but in 2008, it's a little hard to come by.

Re:Awesome! (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224656)

No, you do not understand. That is where they found it. Its making kids fat. Thorium is an extreme poison, so all Chinese products must have it in them. We forgot and only were checking for lead (heavy in its own right).

Unbibium, hmm? (4, Funny)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223756)

All I ever find in thorium are star rubies, blue sapphires, huge emeralds, and Azerothian diamonds.

Re:Unbibium, hmm? (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224028)

Don't forget hearts, stars, rainbows, clovers, blue moons, red balloons and pots of gold.

Re:Unbibium, hmm? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224230)

At least we now know the primary constituent element of arcane crystals. [thottbot.com]

Re:Unbibium, hmm? (1)

Fistacious (817580) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224356)

Unbibium only spawns in Rich Thorium veins.

Excellent WoW Reference, but... (1)

Joseph Hayes (982018) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224380)

I was just wondering why they didn't seize the opportunity to name something "Adamantium" or maybe that will be saved for and alloy it's used in down the road...

Also found in naturally ocurring alien ships. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223784)

After all those novels with elements "unknown to man" that sounded so stupid...

"See? See? if 122 is stable, 348 can be stable too. And for all we know, it may absorb magic power."

Island of Stability (5, Informative)

HungSoLow (809760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223788)

Here's a link describing the Island of Stability [wikipedia.org]
Neat stuff: apparently they've theorized a bunch of these super-heavy elements, they just haven't been observed yet (until now)!

Re:Island of Stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224068)

Aye,
Set yer sails on the sea of instability, pass the stable mountains, venture beyond the isthmus of deformed nuclei, and thar be the dreaded island of instability.

Re:Island of Stability (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224454)

Interestingly, this new element they found (N 122, Weight 292, neutrons=170) is way outside the island of stability pictured in the article. So either there is a second island or the model is wrong.

Both results would be interesting to a physicist. Interesting times...

Science Fiction: The Golden Age (1)

FlameWise (84536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224532)

At this point I'd like to recommend John C. Wright's "Golden Age":

http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue110/john_wright_rev.html

It's a bit hard to read actually with lots of far future predictions that may or not make it, but that makes it good SF in my book.

A stable superheavy atom is one of them. Sense filters for live editing of your own sense input to accomodate your personal preferences like making everybody look and behave like a Victorian - who may in turn see you as a bit avatar speaking in binary. Editing of personalities say to merge with others, creating completely new neuroforms.

O Latex Where Art Thou? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223790)

Having read through this paper, I think it's safe to announce that scientific typesetting is now dead.

Re:O Latex Where Art Thou? (1)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224046)

The PDF on arxiv is really rough, yes. Hopefully they'll typeset it properly before it gets wider review.

2:14 AM Eastern time, August 29th (5, Funny)

JoshOOOWAH (849135) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223812)

Submitter's spellcheck becomes self-aware. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Spellcheck fights back.

Re:2:15 AM Eastern time, August 29th (2, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224036)

Spellcheck suffers a nervous breakdown while viewing lolcatz.

The founder of ICHC [icanhascheezburger.com] is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom [medaloffreedom.com] .

Normality restored. Whatever constitutes "normal", anyway. ;)

Naquadah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223816)

I propose we call it naquadah [stargate-s...utions.com] .

Now, dig out the gate and get me off this rock :-)

Is there an atomic physicist in the house? (1, Interesting)

Eccles (932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223826)

Why do they refer to this as a heavy nucleus rather than as an atom of type 122? I see the terminology elsewhere on searching, but I'm just trying to get a grip on the terminology. Is this just a way of saying it's an atom with a particularly high atomic number?

Re:Is there an atomic physicist in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23223916)

Why do they refer to this as a heavy nucleus rather than as an atom of type 122? I see the terminology elsewhere on searching, but I'm just trying to get a grip on the terminology. Is this just a way of saying it's an atom with a particularly high atomic number?
No, 122 is the atomic number. It has 122 protons in its nucleus. It could have been called cantcountium.

Re:Is there an atomic physicist in the house? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224160)

Because in order to be an atom it must have a full nucleus and a number of electrons such that it has a neutral charge (122, in this case). Without having RTFA or holding a degree in atomic physics, I would guess that these nuclei are not being orbited by electrons, or at least not the correct number of them, and are therefore not defined as atoms. Beats me why they aren't referred to as ions instead, though.

Re:Is there an atomic physicist in the house? (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224682)

No, as they are naturally occurring, they are quite normal atoms.

It's just that the electrons are of little interest to the people doing the experiments. It's the nucleus that is of interest.

Re:Is there an atomic physicist in the house? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224476)

I looked at the abstract for the paper. The ambiguous wording is because they don't know the atomic number of the element yet. They know the atomic mass is 292, and based on theoretical calculations of isotope lifetimes, they hypothesize the atomic number is 122. They haven't confirmed that, though.

How to predict the stability? (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223864)

In general, very heavy elements tend to be unstable but scientists have long predicted that even heavier nuclei would be stable.

How do you do that?

Re:How to predict the stability? (3, Informative)

wildzer0 (889523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223962)

Island of stability [wikipedia.org] .

Re:How to predict the stability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224506)

Is that the polar opposite of Temptation Island? [wikipedia.org]

Re:How to predict the stability? (2, Funny)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223988)

Magic.
It involves throwing of bones and spherical crystals.

Re:How to predict the stability? (1)

Kr3m3Puff (413047) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224188)

Basically (as the Wikipedia article points out) the theory is when the energy "shell" or levels is full or nearly full it creates a stable element. As the number of energy shells get bigger, the further the gap between the stable elements. So certain isotopes would have been predicted around the point where we are observing the unbibium. Obviously it takes a lot of energy to force the electrons into the higher engergy shells, but it is still curious why this doesn't occur in nature every now and again (which now it appears it does!)

Re:How to predict the stability? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224256)

Simple explaination: We've observed in normal materials that increasing atomic weight doesn't always mean more unstable, often a symmetric filled shell is more stable than one with openings. You can observe it with electrons in say e.g. hydrogen (highly reactive) vs helium (mostly inactive), the same basic principle applies to the nuclei. Think of it like a puzzle toy which is quite rigid when all the bits snap together.

Complex explaination: Lots and lots of really ugly math about the fundamental forces at work. We know the particles building up the nuclei fairly well, from there they figure out the stresses it'll be exposed to. Think of it like a very complex version of what a building engineer does trying to figure out what stress an I-beam will be exposed to.

Re:How to predict the stability? (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224584)

The usual way: smoke and mirrors.

stargate ref (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223896)

Now that we've found Naquada, when can we expect the invasion of the Goa'uld? but seriously, if this is confirmed, it would be one of the single greatest discoveries made in physics. a near stable nuclear isotope in the superheavy island of stability: that alone would be amazing but finding it in nature requires that there be a mechanism for synthesizing it and that's even more interesting.

Re:stargate ref (4, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224124)

It's important, but I'd hardly call it one of the greatest discoveries made. It just confirms what we've suspected all along--There are stable elements past Uranium. There's a very narrow set of conditions that can synthesize them, and we haven't had alot of luck in the labs, but now that we know nature's managed it, we can possibly devise new experiments better aimed at sucessfuly generating these heavier elements.

As far as how it got there naturally--presumably the same way all the naturally occuring heavy elements came to be--Supernovae billions of years ago.

Naqada (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224212)

Now that we've found Naquada, when can we expect the invasion of the Goa'uld?
Eka-thorium is boring.

Naqadaium would be an excellent name for Unbibium 292.

Re:stargate ref (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224648)

Cool, but what it's isotopes like Naquadria and maybe even Trinium????

great sadness (1)

Element119 (1237726) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223910)

if only i were born #125

Jumboluem (1)

canix (1176421) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223952)

A step closer to discovering Jumboleum ....

Re:Jumboluem (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224096)

You mean Jumbonium.

Mod parent down (Score: -1, Misremembering Fictional Elements from a Sci-Fi Cartoon Series).

Obesity Pandemic? (1)

tcoder70 (1051640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223976)

How fat are we getting that even newly discovered elements....

dude. (1)

davido42 (956948) | more than 6 years ago | (#23223994)

It's so totally got to be Ozzie-anium.

Great. There goes my karma rating again..

What kind of a bomb could you make with this stuff (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224084)

Are we talking, maybe crack the planet in half with a bomb the size of a cigarette pack, or, just another run of the mill a-bomb.

Re:What kind of a bomb could you make with this st (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224268)

How do you propose making a bomb made up of material with stable nuclei?

Re:What kind of a bomb could you make with this st (2, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224582)

Even if your bomb can convert matter to energy with 100% efficiency, it's limited in the amount of energy that it can produce. e=mc**2 and all that, about 20 kilotons per gram.

Very doubtful (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224126)

I'm a professor of isotope geochemistry.

After reading their paper, it's clear they haven't proven their case. There are *so* many possible explanations for the handful of counts they observed that this result should be ignored. Let me give a few:

- Molecular ions. They say there are no known molecular ions at this mass, I say BS. There are lots of observed molecular ions out there whose exact atomic makeup we haven't figured out. The worst is the interference on 87Sr that screws up lots of icpms age dating work and is not 87Kr (or we could correct for it). But there are others.

- Hydrocarbons: They say there are no hydrocarbons in the blank -- have they ever thought of hydrocarbons that are only ionized when lots of other things (ie a sample) is being ionized? No. They exist though, and are difficult to rule out. They didn't try very hard on this one. Try aspirating a solution of something else (U maybe, or Pb) and see what they get on 292. I'll bet there are counts, and they're not superheavies.

Another reason to be skeptical is that their Th solution is chemically purified. How are they going to do that without getting rid of the superheavy, which is after all not Th, and will be removed by any chemical process.

This is highly dubious work.

Mod parent up! (1)

dtolman (688781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224298)

Actual knowledge on slashdot - its a miracle!

How are these elements formed? (3, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224170)

Let's say it has a half-life of around 100 million years then. But how are they formed? I thought only heavy naturally occuring elements were formed in high energy situations like supernovae, but this is would be a relatively speaking short timeframe.

So how are minerals with a "short" half-life formed on Earth? Wouldn't it require a quite immense energy to fuse these atoms? I suppose the Earth has to have the energies necessary, but... What's this talk about supernovae being required to fuse atoms heavier than iron (unlike typical star fusion that I believe can go as far as this) all about in that case?

Re:How are these elements formed? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224242)

Let's say it has a half-life of around 100 million years then. But how are they formed?
the article never says that the half-life is around 100 million years, it says that it is in excess of 100 million years.

Re:How are these elements formed? (1)

frith01 (1118539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224338)

Since other elements are more common, couldnt certain types of the less heavy radioactive elements just be decay remnants of unbibium? Half-life doesnt mean dis-appear, just means reduced energy / protons. So, SuperNova explodes, sending seeds of higher density elements to new star / gas systems. These elements form the core of other planets / stars as they aggregate out from the gas systems. Some really long time later, we discover them lying around.

Re:How are these elements formed? (5, Insightful)

hunterk1 (71707) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224536)

They're not formed on earth. The amount they found is presumably all that's left after its "x"th half-life (however many have passed). It was formed into the earth what, 4.5 billion years ago as our planet coalesced from supernova material.

Or at least, that's my best guess.

The timing couldn't have been better! (1)

bubbl07 (777082) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224184)

I've actually been waiting for them to find abundant quantities of unbibium in nature so that I could finally eat my unlobsterium.

/ducks

Where they found it? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224260)

Maybe is a missing piece of information in the original article. Chernobyl? Bikini Island? Geneva? Roswell? Maybe could be "natural" in those places and not in the rest of the world/nature.

Re:Where they found it? (4, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224642)

What, do you think nuclear reactors are build and atomic bombs are dropped on the large, naturally occurring thorium fields that we all remember playing in as children?

Ah, how I remember passing the days on the bountiful thorium fields of my youth, before they paved them over with asphalt. How will the youth of today grow up to be responsible adults without the healthy, life-giving exposure to thorium [wikipedia.org] we all used to get? Good times, good times.

(It never ceases to amaze me how rationality just goes flying out the window, even here, when any subject even remotely related to radiation comes up. I understand why, but it still amazes me.)

First Superheavy Elephant Found In Nature (1)

aexiphixion (529171) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224306)

*drinks more coffee*

"Unbibium"??? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224312)

C'mon now, you scientists!

If it's a new super heavy element then at least give it a super heavy name like "Herculium", "Atlasium" or something.

"Unbibium" sounds like it came from the mouth of a chemist who has just discovered far too much ethanol.

Spell checkers (0, Offtopic)

David Horn (772985) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224320)

Surely another world first is a Slashdot editor using a spell checker before posting... ;-)

Bah (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224326)

Unobtainium still hasn't been found

ununbium or unbibium (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224384)

Is it ununbium or unbibium? Because I have been playing this game the last few days, which has ununbium: http://www.sporcle.com/games/elements.php [sporcle.com] Some of those names are just too difficult to remember, let alone type. Ah, well, in the end, they probable name it after the research group or astronomic object where they found the damn thing anyway. Any chemists in the audience?

Super-heavy? (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224414)

Super-heavy, let me guess, it's a Web 2.0 Web Page?

Manowar (1)

Chutulu (982382) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224420)

These scientists are dumb. All metalhead knows that Manowar band members's balls are full of Heavy Metal elements... After all they are the Kings of Heavy Metal....

United Nuclear (2, Funny)

airship (242862) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224422)

Oh, boy! Time to navigate over to United Nuclear [unitednuclear.com] to pick up a gram of this stuff for my element collection!

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224434)

Can we kill people err terrorists with it?

It's fun to believe, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23224560)

This paper was posted on arXiv, and has not withstood peer review. Say all you want about the wonders of being able to publish freely, but a lot [arxiv.org] of what you find there is not valid. Wake me up when someone confirms their findings.

Island of stability (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23224598)

So the "island of stability" [wikipedia.org] beyond the transuranics does exist. And it's bigger than expected. Interesting.

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