Sci/Tech Evidence for new periodic table element boosted

KaerfNomekop

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Scientists have presented new evidence for the existence of a previously unconfirmed element with atomic number 115.

The element is highly radioactive and exists for less than a second before decaying into lighter atoms.

First discovered by Russian scientists in 2004, the super-heavy element has yet to be verified by the governing body of chemistry and physics.

The new evidence is published in journal Physical Review Letters.

"This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years", said Dirk Rudolph, professor at the division of atomic physics at Lund University, Sweden, who led the research.

 
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KMilz

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What does evidence of this element do to help us better understand anything in the universe? And I mean that quite earnestly, I'm just wondering what significance this new element might have if we can only observe it for less than a second at a time?

And by 'decaying into lighter atoms,' is it saying that the element literally changes from one to another? Why haven't we found a way to control this sort of transformation? I wanna be able to transmute shit.
 

Nyph

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What does evidence of this element do to help us better understand anything in the universe? And I mean that quite earnestly, I'm just wondering what significance this new element might have if we can only observe it for less than a second at a time?

And by 'decaying into lighter atoms,' is it saying that the element literally changes from one to another? Why haven't we found a way to control this sort of transformation? I wanna be able to transmute shit.
It decays because there is so much shit crammed into the nucleus that it can't hold itself together. Transmutaion is possible atm, but takes huge amounts of energy and the results are usually radioactive. For instance, nearly all, if not all the plutonium in the world is man made.
 

Dan

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I'm not convinced by a lot of the elements that scientists present. Technically an atom could hold any number of junk in it's nucleus for a split second... It's not really of any notability unless it is a stable element. Unstable elements--especially those that last under a second--have no practical uses.
 

Varine

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What does evidence of this element do to help us better understand anything in the universe? And I mean that quite earnestly, I'm just wondering what significance this new element might have if we can only observe it for less than a second at a time?

And by 'decaying into lighter atoms,' is it saying that the element literally changes from one to another? Why haven't we found a way to control this sort of transformation? I wanna be able to transmute shit.

A lot of elements have an extremely short half life. Of the practical uses, there are probably none currently so it's not very useful, but I believe the point is to clarify that the periodic table is not complete. Besides, whether or not it's useful isn't relevant, and it's not like there won't be some stable isotope of it in all probability; there are isotopes of Astatine that last for only a few nanoseconds while some have several hours. If it meets the definition of an element, then it's an element (I think it has something to do with having an exact positive charge across all atoms).
 

Dan

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Perhaps, but I'm still pretty skeptical about such events. When you are talking about an element lasting such a short amount of time, it doesn't even seem to me that it even counts as existing in the first place.

Also, looking for elements seems trivial. Since we know how to count, can't we just assume that every atomic number is a different element without having to go make it and then say we "found a new element". will gaps ever stay unfilled? Are we so obsessed that we need to force elements into existence for split second just so we can fill in a gap on the table that we should probably know has to exist under some set of conditions anyways?

Just thoughts. I'm sure someone who is knowledgeable in the area could destroy my arguments, but this is the impression that I get.
 

KMilz

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Perhaps, but I'm still pretty skeptical about such events. When you are talking about an element lasting such a short amount of time, it doesn't even seem to me that it even counts as existing in the first place.

So if something only exists for a very short time, then it doesn't exist? That's exactly what I hear you saying here, and I can't think you're actually trying to say that.

It does seem like a bit of a fruitless effort to me as well, but I do my best not to judge others for pursuing the things in life that bring them joy. Besides, proving something to the world that had previously been unproven is actually a damn big deal. Their names may last for another few hundred years in the annuls of human history, rather than a matter of decades. Give 'em what they earned.
 

Dan

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So if something only exists for a very short time, then it doesn't exist? That's exactly what I hear you saying here, and I can't think you're actually trying to say that.

It does seem like a bit of a fruitless effort to me as well, but I do my best not to judge others for pursuing the things in life that bring them joy. Besides, proving something to the world that had previously been unproven is actually a damn big deal. Their names may last for another few hundred years in the annuls of human history, rather than a matter of decades. Give 'em what they earned.

I meant pretty much what I said. (I usually do). Don't think too hard.


If something exists for nanoseconds, it's pretty unconvincing to me since there are particles colliding every second all over the place in the universe for the same amounts of time. It's hard, then, for me to take it seriously when someone says that they observed a new element when it only existed for the blink of an eye; perhaps even shorter than some other temporary reactions and collisions do naturally.

I see the point in LHC collisions and the data collected from splitting things; but, atoms being held together for super small amounts of time mean less to me.

I'm sure it's all helpful in some way... but to me it's pretty hard to understand said importance. I'm no chemist. It seems more like an obsession to fill in the gaps of the periodic table to me.
 

camelCase

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That's a pretty good obsession, imo. The pay off for knowledge isn't always immediate, right?
 
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KMilz

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It baffles me how you can say something exists and follow that by saying that it doesn't even exist. It's nonsense, like Firecat.
 

Varine

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Perhaps, but I'm still pretty skeptical about such events. When you are talking about an element lasting such a short amount of time, it doesn't even seem to me that it even counts as existing in the first place.

If it is at any point in existence, it 'counts' as existing. I take it you do not have a very heavy background in pure sciences? It is far, far easier to break atoms apart than keep them together; if anything, you have your priorities backwards.
 

Dan

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If it is at any point in existence, it 'counts' as existing. I take it you do not have a very heavy background in pure sciences? It is far, far easier to break atoms apart than keep them together; if anything, you have your priorities backwards.


But that was kind of my point. It's crazy hard to keep them together and yet we are counting them as elements, even when they reaaaaally don't want to be. It just seems to me that we may be trying too hard sometimes, since the periodic table is getting really messy with elements that really can't be used. It's an impression I get, really.

@Kmilz stop being such a jerk! I always give my honest impressions and opinions. I word myself carefully and try to give good input that stirs up conversation and thought. I am also a big believer in gaining knowledge by listening to what others have to say. There is more to be learned when defending a point that is weak, not entirely thought out, or even a point that you don't believe in at all. Discussion leads to knowledge and the thirst for knowledge is a large part of my humanity.

I have used a lot of statements above such as "hard for me to believe", "I'm unconvinced" and "Just thoughts." You should be very well aware that I am essentially asking for information.

I am not sure what part of my conversation confuses and deludes you into thinking that I am as closed off as FC... My guess is that you are taking offense to something that you shouldn't be. If you can't explain in words that don't make personal judgement, then your opinion is not worth much anyways, though.

(Camel Case, KaerKfnomekop, Accname, and Varine are making good points without being jerks.)
 

KMilz

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If you can observe something then it exists. Time is irrelevant in the equation. Just because it lasts for a fraction of a second doesn't mean it didn't happen. Any number of different things in this universe happen faster than we can witness, and yet I doubt you question many of those things because you have a better understanding of how they work. This is no different. I didn't say you were close-minded like FC, I said you were speaking nonsense like him because things that exist, exist, whereas things that don't exist, don't exist. That's where you lost me, pal.
 

Dan

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See... I'm not your "pal"... I don't understand why this is so personal with you.

If I force some people to live in your house for a day, it doesn't make them your family. Similarly, if you force stuff into an atom for a nanosecond, it seems to me that it doesn't truly count as its own element.

I have always been under the impression that an element should have an affinity for being an element. It should have some amount of stability. Nanoseconds seem to be a pretty small window of time to judge such an affinity. Perhaps such a small time is acceptable after all, but it feels a bit short to me.

If it is an acceptable amount of time, we should probably begin to draw a line somewhere. Every atomic number should exist if we consider a small enough time, because at the smallest levels, we could probably force an atomic configuration into "existence." If this were the case, then it wouldn't really be a big deal if we made them at all, because we could just name all possible configurations and be done.

In mathematics there are fun things called limits and the idea of infinity. Something to think about.

Additionally, (and off topic) if you don't like the idea of something existing and not existing at the same time, I suggest that you stay away from quantum science and things like super-positions.

At the quantum level, things happen so rapidly that there might be collisions that make an infinite number of things exist at any moment in time. The slur that people talk about may be just that! Another point to ponder.
 

FireCat

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Where's the Evidence?

because things that exist, exist, whereas things that don't exist, don't exist
It all depends! Well, all you have to do is prove that "It does exist!" With more than words and numbers!
 

KMilz

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If it is an acceptable amount of time, we should probably begin to draw a line somewhere. Every atomic number should exist if we consider a small enough time, because at the smallest levels, we could probably force an atomic configuration into "existence." If this were the case, then it wouldn't really be a big deal if we made them at all, because we could just name all possible configurations and be done.

Alright, so the real issue you're drawing here is that if we claim this exists due to this evidence, then we should admit the existence of any number of other ridiculously unstable elements. The problem with that is that we haven't witnessed any of these other nameless, unstable elements yet, so we can't say that they exist just because we can count higher than the number of elements on the periodic table. We can force them into different configurations but we don't really know how to control which element comes out, and we may very well be able to find a way to stabilize these elements by the time we've mastered that, too; and, when stable, they'll likely have properties totally unique to the elements we understand now, and will carry with them a lot of innovative new uses. Being that we can't just do either of these things yet, this is still a pretty significant find. It may lead toward methods that do exactly what you're suggesting.

Also, I don't see what I'm doing that's making you think I'm taking things personally - I am a bit at this point 'cuz you've been so stupidly obnoxious about it, but saying that I'm personalizing this because I addressed you as 'pal' goes beyond me. It bothers me at how much offense you've taken from fairly reasonable statements that were not in the form of attacks, something that the people of our country seem to do everywhere I look, and I'd expect better from you given some of the debates we've had in the past.

That aside, I don't know anything about quantum mechanics so maybe my 'things that exist, exist, yada yada yada' line isn't totally accurate - I couldn't say. Even so, they witnessed the existence of this element before it decayed, so it's hard to argue that it didn't exist. And since you decided to throw in that analogy of the house and family, I'll throw in my own: if you blink, did it never happen because it happened in less than a second? If it decays, did it never exist because it decayed in less than a second?
 
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