For All Chemistry Students And Teachers: Scientists Add One More Element To The Periodic Table!

(By Obianuju Okafor)

To imagine that we are still battling to memorise the names and atomic weights of 117 elements in the periodic table, scientists have now confirmed the addition of a new one yet again. This is very relevant to all chemistry students, intending students or anyone that will do a subject/course that has to do with memorising the periodic table. In case you’ve forgotten, the periodic table is that table of all the chemical elements arranged on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties. I remember as a chemistry student in secondary school having challenges memorising this table. If you flip through the popular (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) IUPAC Chemistry textbook; who remembers this text book?… You will see a copy of the periodic table on one of the back pages of the book. It is very obvious that the number of elements seen there no longer corresponds with what actually exists as at today. Three new elements were approved to be added to the Periodic Table with the atomic numbers 110, 111 and 112; these were named Darmstadtium (Ds), Roentgenium (Rg) and Copernicium (Cn) respectively in 2011. New elements such as Flevorium (114) and Livermorium (116) were also added on the periodic table in 2012. Scientists have said that new elements discovered are birthed and isolated in laboratories and their existence can only be proven because there are detectors that have evidence for them unlike the typically ones you can see and hold like gold or iron

Now again, a new element has been discovered! This will be the 115 element on the periodic table. A team of Swedish researchers from the Lund University in Sweden, Germany announced that they had evidence of detection of this new element. There had been a previous discovery of this element by a Dubna Russian team but their claims had to be validated before the element could be officially discovered. Element 115 was discovered after americium film was bombarded with calcium ions and the particles emitted from the reaction were measured. It was discovered that the newly formed element vanished quickly in a flash of radiation that scientists could measure. That flash, or “fingerprint,” confirmed the existence of an element with 115 protons at its center. The new element is one of the heaviest chemical elements ever detected.

Although the discovery waits approval by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, but for now element 115, which has an atomic number of 115, bears the placeholder name Ununpentium simply translated to 115 in Latin and Greek.  According to the Chair of IUPAC’s Joint Working Party for the Discovery of New Elements, Paul Karol, he said this approval may take a long time because a number of publications have to be studied with intense concentration and more experiments may be conducted.  After the research has been validated then the new element can be named, but till then let’s keep memorising!

You can click HERE to read up some useful Q&As on the new element




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