Monday, January 4, 2016

And Ununoctium for the win!

Hey look, new elements! The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry have just given their blessing to four, count'em four new elements that scientists have just made up.
"Aaaaaand...radium! Science: achieved."
-Marie Curie circa 1898
Pictured: Element 113. To gaze upon it is to
invite madness and death. (source: science)
You heard me, made up. The elements, created by researchers from the U.S., Russia and Japan were created in a lab and do not exist in nature which is weird because you know, elements, right? Like, an element is, by definition, the fundamental building block of something, so how come they needed to make it in a lab? Shouldn't they have found it somewhere? Preferably in the form of some sinister, glowing orb buried deep under the earth in some kind of ancient vault? Maybe with a curse on the door? I mean, showmanship. 

Behold: an adorable chimera
known as the Cat/Dog!
And if they are the fundamental building blocks of whatever, what did they make it out of? Even fundamentaler building blocks? According to this, the researchers shoved atomic nuclei together and then recorded the new elements in the fraction of a second in which they exist before they decayed into nothingness. So again, I'm not a scientist but isn't that a little like stacking your pets and saying that you've discovered some new, magical creature? At least until the hissing starts.

But you know, that's cool, new elements. I suppose the IUPAC knows what they're talking about and I should probably just take their word for it. After all, they're not the International Union of Explaining Science to Me.
Speaking of, why haven't I been assigned my own team of scientists whose
sole job is to explain science to me? Seems like kind of an oversight. 
Above: Iron as represented by Fe,
because shut up, that's why.
Oh, but they are however the organization in charge of naming the elements and as such they've invited the researchers to come up with names and nonsensical atomic symbols for their brand new elements. Which, well, I guess they did discover them but still, I think we should put it to a vote on the internet, seems like that would be the democratic thing to do. I mean we crowdsource planet names now, and the IUPAC are the people who came up with flerovium and spell sodium with an 'n' so why not put it out there? With that in mind, I'd like to propose mythril, or adamantium, or-oh! I've got it: Calcium II: The Quickening. You know, I think I just figured out why we don't let just anyone name elements.

Anyway, the important thing to note here is that these elements finally fill out the seventh row of the periodic table which I gather is kind of big deal. For some reason. Probably gambling related, because. You know, that team of scientists who explain things to me would come in pretty hand right about now.
Pictured: Kosuke Morita from the Japanese research team who
discovered element 113, and in doing so won chemistry Bingo.

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