Posted Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, at 5:19 PM
Photo by RIKEN.
Megatronium? Optimusprimium? Bumblebeedium?
Japanese scientists may finally have an element they can call their own. And they can call it whatever they want. Element 113, possessing 113 protons and bearing the temporary moniker "ununtrium"—or, appropriately, "one-one-three"—can only be synthesized in a laboratory and decays quickly. It took the Tokyo team more than nine years, but they may have finally summed together 113 protons to create the elusive element using some seriously intense addition. Utilizing the RIKEN Linear Accelerator, researchers smashed together a zinc atom, which has 30 protons, and a bismuth atom, No. 83 on the elementary hit list, and observed what they believe is the signature decay of a 113-proton particle. If so, it will be the first heavy element discovered by Japan, and they will therefore have the honor of naming it.
Anything but Pokemonium, OK?