Japanese Scientists Reportedly Synthesize Missing Period Table Element 113_Featured_, Science Thursday, September 27th, 2012
(Live Science) Scientists in Japan think they’ve finally created the elusive element 113, one of the missing items on the periodic table of elements.
Element 113 is an atom with 113 protons in its nucleus — a type of matter that must be created inside a laboratory because it is not found naturally on Earth. Heavier and heavier synthetic elements have been created over the years, with the most massive one being element 118, temporarily named ununoctium.
But element 113 has been stubbornly hard to create. After years of trying, researchers at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan said today (Sept. 26) they finally did so. On Aug. 12, the unstable element was formed and quickly decayed, leaving the team with data to cite as proof of the accomplishment.
“For over nine years, we have been searching for data conclusively identifying element 113, and now that at last we have it, it feels like a great weight has been lifted from our shoulders,” Kosuke Morita, leader of the research group, said in a statement.
If confirmed, the achievement will mark the first time Japan has discovered a new element, and should make Japan the first Asian country with naming rights to a member of the periodic table. Until now, only scientists in the United States, Russia and Germany have had that chance.