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Thread: Periodic table gets a new element

  1. #1 Periodic table gets a new element 
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8093374.stm

    The ubiquitous periodic table will soon have a new addition - the "super-heavy" element 112.
    ------------
    To create element 112, Professor Hofmann's team used a 120m-long particle accelerator to fire a beam of charged zinc atoms (or zinc ions) at lead atoms. Nuclei of the two elements merged, or fused, to form the nucleus of the new element.

    These very large and heavy nuclei are also very unstable. They begin to fall apart or "decay" very soon after being formed - within a few milliseconds, in this case.

    This releases energy, which scientists can measure to find out the size of the decaying nucleus.

    But such experiments produce very few successful fusions, and scientists need increasingly powerful accelerators to run experiments for longer and find the elusive, unstable elements.
    After reading all that, does anyone else think that this research was pretty pointless? Aren't there more interesting fields to study, than the 'creation' of extremely short lived elements?

    I just can't see the benefit

    I can't even see the benefit of proving that this element can be made......alright, it expands our knowledge and usually that is enough for me, but isn't the theory just as good as the 'evidence'....in this case?

    Like the Russians think they can create element 118, okay great write it down in a text book somewhere, but don't spend millions proving it....


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    until they find it and it turns out to be a perfectly sustainable source of electricity, heat and building material, in different states.


    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    until they find it and it turns out to be a perfectly sustainable source of electricity, heat and building material, in different states.
    Yeah, but the elements only exist for milliseconds....?
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  5. #4  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Space exploration is often considered pointless, yet it gave us satelites and new materials (alloys etc. designed for spacecraft).

    Nuclear weapons gave us medical tracers and electricity.

    Obscure research often gives us unexpected rewards.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Space exploration is often considered pointless, yet it gave us satelites and new materials (alloys etc. designed for spacecraft).

    Nuclear weapons gave us medical tracers and electricity.

    Obscure research often gives us unexpected rewards.
    Surely we had electricity before nuclear weapons......but I know what you are saying...as I said, usually I agree with science research for research sake, but this research just seems completely pointless: Lets make fairly useless elements for fractions of a second
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  7. #6  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    1 ms of 112 is slightly more than 3.7x10^8 joules

    or


    370,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000

    give or take a few placements

    ... this is assuming I know how to do math as well as understand basic principles, both assumptions I won't even dare to make

    nonetheless, don't confuse insignificant duration with insignificant energy
    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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  8. #7  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    AFAIK, there is a theoretical island of stability beyond the currently achievable heavy elements, which means that eventually they might actually create a brand new and stable element. Playing God! Fun!
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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