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Scientists confirm existence of elusive element 115

Scientists in Germany and Sweden say they have created a handful of atoms of an elusive super-heavy element with the atomic number 115, tentatively known as ununpentium.

Periodic table 2011 12 02Enlarge
A close-up view of a periodic table. (AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

There may be a new addition to the periodic table with the discovery of what German and Swedish scientists are calling a new super-heavy element.

Although it has yet to be officially named, element 115 is temporarily known as ununpentium (Uup), which is roughly based on the Latin and Greek words for the digits in its atomic number.

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Researchers at Sweden's Lund University said Tuesday the finding backs up claims of a new element by scientists in the US and Russia about a decade ago that had remained unverified until now.

“This was a very successful experiment and is one of the most important in the field in recent years”, said Dirk Rudolph, a nuclear physics professor at Lund University.

To make it, scientists at the GSI research facility in Germany shot a super-fast beam of calcium at a thin film of another element named americium.

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When they collided, some fused together to create the atoms with 115 protons.

Its temporary name, ununpentium, is quite the mouthful.

But element 115 will likely get a new name if the discovery is formally approved by experts from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and Chemistry, according to The Associated Press.

Some of its neighbors have already been christened. Last year, the man-made elements 114 and 116 were officially named flerovium (Fl) and livermorium (Lv).

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130827/german-scientists-discover-new-super-heavy-element-115