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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 17 October 2006 14:33
Lab announces new element
BERKELEY: After prematurely declaring No. 118 in 1999, scientists announce short-lived, heavy Ununoctium
By Ian Hoffman
The Contra Costa Times

By firing atoms of metal at another metal, Russian and American scientists have discovered a new element -- No. 118 on the Periodic Table -- that is the heaviest substance known and probably hasn't existed since the universe was in its infancy, they reported Monday.

Ununoctium, as the new element is temporarily named, has no known use but inspired a nearly decadelong pursuit by scientists on four continents. Controversy in the course of its discovery hobbled the career of one physicist, sparked questions about scientific ethics and almost destroyed the world's most productive team of element hunters.

So far, science has gotten a fair measure of trouble out of Element 118 for something that destroys itself in a few thousands of a second. Yet creating the new element -- all three atoms of it -- confirmed the difficulty of finding a theorized family of super-heavy but stable elements.

"I think of this as any other journey to a new place," Lawrence Livermore Laboratory nuclear chemist and team member Nancy Stoyer said. "Why do you want to go to the moon? Why do you want to go to the top of Mount Everest? Finding it is something new, something interesting."...More

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