Stories tagged periodic table

Harry Potter fans, you might enjoy this clip of Daniel Radcliffe, on BBC1, singing Tom Lehrer's "The Elements."


Copernicium 112
Copernicium 112Courtesy GregRobson

Heaviest named element is finally official

Copernicium was officially named February 19, 2010 as element number 112. This element was first created on February 9, 1996 by firing accelerated zinc-70 nuclei at a target made of lead-208 nuclei in a heavy ion accelerator.

This was no easy process: You can’t just shoot one atom at another and expect the atoms to buddy up. In 1996, Sigurd Hofmann and his team had to figure out a way to get all the protons together — and stick. They used a machine, called the Universal Linear Accelerator, that can accelerate atoms up to 10 percent the speed of light. After a week of working on these high-speed collisions, Hofmann’s team found copernicum — even though it quickly vanished. Science News

Copernicium (Cn) takes its place on the periodic chart with a group of metals including zinc, cadmium, and mercury. With two electrons in its outer shell, it has 112 protons and atomic weight of 285.


Want to hear the most exciting chemistry news for the month of June?? Yes…? All right then.

A few weeks ago, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (or IUPAC if you’re feelin’ lazy) officially recognized the element 112, discovered at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, as the newest element to be added to the periodic table. That’s right kids, the periodic table is gettin’ a makeover.

The new element is approximately 277 times heavier than Hydrogen, making it the heaviest element to hit the periodic table since roentgenium (which coincidentally, was also discovered by GSI). It’s been a long road for 112. Way back in 1996, Professor Sigurd Hoffman and a team of 21 scientists at GSI created it with an accelerator. Six years later, they were able to produce another atom. Finally confirming the discovery, accelerator experiments at the Japanese RIKEN produce more atoms of 112.

How does an accelerator make an atom, you ask? Well, zinc ions are fired towards a lead target with the help of a 120-meter long particle accelerator. Once they hit, the zinc and lead nuclei merge in a nuclear fusion to form the nucleus of a new element.

Cool.The accelerator: The target wheel equipped with lead waiting to be irradiated with zinc ions
The accelerator: The target wheel equipped with lead waiting to be irradiated with zinc ionsCourtesy A. Zschau, GSI

And now for the fun part. Over the next few weeks, the scientists from the discovery team will deliberate on the name of element 112. After its been submitted to IUPAC, it will be assessed and then officially be crowned the newest member of the periodic team.


A fun way to learn about elements

There is a video channel on You Tube that will feature a video about each element on the periodic table. I am featuring the video on sodium below.

Sodium is amazing

When sodium is placed in water it floats because it is lighter than water. It also reacts with water. Sodium, because it is more reactive, takes the place of of one of the hydrogen atoms in water, (HOH). The hydrogen replaced is freed and the heat energy of the reaction often ignites the hydrogen. The burning hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air releasing energy which appears to be an explosion (or is it an implosion). All I know is that when my high school companions threw a chunk of it in the river the result was water blasted 13 feet into the air.

Sodium is hazardous

One should note that the sodium attached to the remaining OH from the water molecule makes sodium hydroxide (NaOH). Sodium Hydroxide is the active ingredient in Drano which eats through fat, grease, and skin. I learned the hard way that it burned skin and ruined clothing.

Video about sodium (Na)

Click here to see more videos about elements from the periodic chart.