Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nuclear 116-Legged Sack Race

Remember how we just got done introducing three new elements to the periodic table?

Well, say hello to two more. 114 and 116 have been given their official names, respectively livermorium (Lv) and flerovium (Fl). Spots 113 and 115 remain empty for now, though the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia have claimed them along with 117 and 118.

The two have also discovered livermorium and flerovium. Each lab took one element to name. No prizes for guessing livermorium's namesake. Flerovium, the one the Russians named, is named for Georgy Flerov, who founded and whose name also adorns one of their labs. Flerov's other legacy is alerting Joseph Stalin to the fact that the United States had gotten strangely quiet while talking about nuclear fission, a suspicion that was on-target, seeing as the Manhattan Project was going on and all. That kickstarted the Soviet nuclear program.

The Joint Institute, assuming joint custody, now has seven elements on the table, alongside rutherfordium, nobelium, dubnium, seaborgium and bohrium. For Livermore, this is their first time on the scoreboard.

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