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Scientists confirm existence of new, super-heavy element 'ununpentium'

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A heavyweight contender for the periodic table

Flickr | periodic table shower curtain
Flickr | periodic table shower curtain

Swedish scientists have confirmed the existence of a new super-heavy element, temporarily dubbed ununpentium for its position at the 115th spot on the periodic table. First proposed by Russian scientists back in 2004, the new element was created by a Swedish team from Lund University. They fired a beam of calcium, which has 20 protons, into a piece of americium, which has 95 protons. For an entire second, ununpentium burst into existence, composed of 115 protons.

As to why this is important, the Christian Science Monitor writes that "scientists hope that by creating heavier and heavier elements, they will find a theoretical 'island of stability,' an undiscovered region in the periodic table where stable super-heavy elements with as yet unimagined practical uses might exist."

Before the element is officially added to the periodic table, it needs to be confirmed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. IUPAC will review the new findings to decide whether more experiments are necessary before element 115 gets an official name.