Elemental discoveries – ununpentium

Experiments carried out between 14th July and 10th August 2003 involving scientists at Dubna (Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at the U400 cyclotron with the Dubna gas-filled recoil separator, DGFRS) in Russia in a collaboration also involving scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA provided the first evidence for the superheavy elements 115 dubbed ununpentium provisionally. Details were published in February 2004. At the time, a mere four nuclei of this element were identified in those experiments.

Now, the element can be added officially to the Periodic Table just in time for the kids going back to school as researchers at Lund University, Sweden, have confirmed the existence of element 115. Pundits, among them ClassicFM are hoping t’official name will be Nelly (the Element).

An international team of researchers, led by physicists from Lund University, have confirmed the existence of what is considered a new element with atomic number 115. The experiment was conducted at the GSI research facility in Germany. The results confirm earlier measurements performed by research groups in Russia. “This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years,” says Lund’s Dirk Rudolph. The team had bombarded a thin film of the element americium with calcium ions and measured the pattern of X-ray energy released, which matched predicted energies for the alpha decay of ununpentium.