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Your Questions About How To Discover New Elements

Sandra asks…

How Did Georgius Agricola discover the element ‘Fluorine’?

So I know it was discovered by Georgius Agricola in 1530 and then later isolated in 1886 by Henry Moissan, but I want to know how Agricola discovered it. I already know how Moissan isolated it. My question is how did Agricola discover it?
Thanks in avance :)

New Niche Finder answers:

You say that Agricola “discovered” fluorine in 1529. There is no evidence to even suggest that Agricola recognized the existence of an element. He can only be credited with coming up with a name for a flux, a substance which is involved in metallurgy. The flux he discovered is what we now call the mineral fluorite which we know contains the element fluorine, but Agricola didn’t know that.

It was not until 1810 that Ampere suggested that what we now know as hydrofluoric acid contained an unknown element similar to chlorine. Humphrey Davey, responsible for actually discovering a number of elements, including chlorine, came up with the name for this potentially new element. Ampere and Davey are responsible for acknowledging the existence of a new element in hydrofluoric acid and fluorite. A number of chemists attempted to isolate the element with little success until 1886 when fluorine was finally isolated by Moissan.

I would say that while Moissan should get credit for producing elemental fluorine, Ampere should get credit for discovering that there was an unknown element to even be discovered. In no way would we credit Agricola with the discovery of fluorine.

Thomas asks…

what is the defined difference between atoms and elements?

Eg iron is an element but it the periodic table it is described as an atom-the simplest enity of the element! This does not make any sense.

New Niche Finder answers:

In chemistry and physics, an atom (Greek ἄτομος or átomos meaning “indivisible”) is the smallest particle of a chemical element that retains its chemical properties. (Since until the advent of quantum mechanics dividing a material object was invariably equated with cutting it, átomos is usually translated as “indivisible”.) Whereas the word atom originally denoted a particle that cannot be cut into smaller particles, the atoms of modern parlance are composed of subatomic particles:
electrons, which have a negative charge, a size which is so small as to be currently unmeasurable, and which are the least heavy (i.e., massive) of the three;
protons, which have a positive charge, and are about 1836 times more massive than electrons; and
neutrons, which have no charge, and are about 1839 times more massive than electrons.
Protons and neutrons make up a dense, massive atomic nucleus, and are collectively called nucleons. The electrons form the much larger electron cloud surrounding the nucleus.
Atoms can differ in the number of each of the subatomic particles they contain. Atoms of the same element have the same number of protons (called the atomic number). Within a single element, the number of neutrons may vary, determining the isotope of that element. The number of electrons associated with an atom is most easily changed, due to the lower energy of binding of electrons. The number of protons (and neutrons) in the atomic nucleus may also change, via nuclear fusion, nuclear fission or radioactive decay, in which case the atom is no longer the same element it was.
Atoms are electrically neutral if they have an equal number of protons and electrons. Atoms which have either a deficit or a surplus of electrons are called ions. Electrons that are furthest from the nucleus may be transferred to other nearby atoms or shared between atoms. By this mechanism atoms are able to bond into molecules and other types of chemical compounds like ionic and covalent network crystals.
Atoms are the fundamental building blocks of chemistry, and are conserved in chemical reactions.

Element – Chemical elements are the fundamental materials of which all matter is composed. From the modern viewpoint a substance that cannot be broken down or reduced further is, by definition an element.
A chemical element, often called simply an element, is a substance that cannot be decomposed or transformed into other chemical substances by ordinary chemical processes. All matter consists of these elements and as of 2006, 117 unique elements have been discovered or artificially created. The smallest particle of such an element is an atom, which consists of electrons centered about a nucleus of protons and neutrons.
Earlier an element or pure element was defined as a substance which “can’t be further broken down into another compound with different chemical properties”—which should be taken to mean it consists of atoms of one element. However, because of allotropy, the isotope effect, and the confusion with the more useful term referring to the general class of atoms (irrespective of what compound it may be in), this usage is in disfavor amongst contemporary chemists, and sees restricted, mostly historical, use. This definition was motivated by the observation that these elements could not be dissociated by chemical means into other compounds. For example, water could be converted into hydrogen and oxygen, but hydrogen and oxygen could not be further decomposed, thus “elemental”. There are also many counterexamples (for example “elemental oxygen” (O2) can be decomposed by solely chemical means into oxygen ions and atoms which have drastically different chemical properties). This article will concern itself with the latter definition

Ruth asks…

Can adobe photoshop brushes work for photoshop elements?

I know, stupid question
But im not quite sure.
Im just curious if adobe photoshop brushes, will work for photshop elements 7.
7 is the newest one, by the way.

I know its photoshop cs4, as well.

Im just curious, can, and will they work on elements
and if so, could you help me out with how that would, and could work?

New Niche Finder answers:

Unfortunately, yes, Photoshop brushes do work in Elements and can become addicting. (I just downloaded 2 really cute sets of Easter Bunny brushes and a set of custom shapes.)

It’s also unfortunate that they’re easy to install into Elements. I have PSE6 but installing hasn’t changed too much in the recent versions. You’ll download a zip folder. I usually download the folder to my Desktop so I won’t have to hunt for it. Right click on it and click on Extract All.

Find the extracted folder, right click on it and click Copy. (Don’t open it, just right click on the folder.)

You use Windows Explorer to put the extracted folder into PSE’s Brushes folder. I open Documents and use the Windows Explorer on its left side. Scroll down to Computer and click the +, then click the + next to C:, Click the + next to Program Files, then the + next to Adobe, the + next to Photoshop Elements 7.0. Scroll down and click the + next to Presets and scroll down to Brushes. Click it to open, right click on an empty space in the white area over to the right of WE in area that’s showing the files….make sure you haven’t clicked on any of the files or folders that are showing, and click Paste. Done!

When you’re using the Brush Tool in PSE, go up to the Brush Selector in the Options Bar above the workspace and click to open it. Up at the top of the dropdown is a box showing the brush set that’s displayed, click to open it and scroll down until you see the name of your new brush set and click on it to load it. If the thumbnails are too small to see well: over on the right side of the Brush Selector are two little arrows. Click on them and at the top of the dropdown that appears, you can choose a larger size thumbnail. I almost went blind until I discovered this;)

The neat thing about the brushes is that not only can you paint and make designs with them but you can choose special brushes when you’re using the Eraser Tool, too, and use the brushes to remove color in a pattern.

Have fun! Oh, and don’t forget to make a folder to store the zip files and extracted folders. Back this folder up every once and awhile and, if anything ever happens to your computer or if you ever have to uninstall/reinstall the program, you’ve still got them and don’t have to go hunting for them.

Robert asks…

When are we going to find a superheavy element that is stable?

After plutonium, there is no more stable elements that can be useful for anything, is there a trend by after what element it gets stable?

New Niche Finder answers:

No isotope of plutonium is “stable”. One isotope of plutonium is just barely long-lived enough that some appreciable quantity is left over from the formation of the solar system. No element heavier than lead is actually considered completely stable.

There is a pattern of stability that is not monotonically decreasing. There exist “magic numbers” of neutrons and protons that are more stable than numbers either higher or lower. By the magic numbers, an “island of stability” has been theorized, where heavier elements than those so far discovered might exist that can last more than a few days, like most isotopes on the frontier of discovery. However, more recent theories have suggested that at the extremes, the pattern of magic numbers does not follow the same rules, so that the island of stability might occur at a heavier range of isotopes, or not exist at all.

Mark asks…

How can anyone claim to know the amount of a given element in the entire universe?

in another question, David D lists the ppm figures of different elements in the universe.

how can you possibly know that? the universe is inconceivably massive. it’s literally infinite, if anything infinite exists. nobody on this planet knows what else is out there.

New Niche Finder answers:

It’s critical to keep in mind that when Science says “the universe” it’s a “given” that they are discussing the OBSERVABLE universe unless they are speculating about “dark matter”.

It’s not a matter at all of “Judging” a race by a few members but one of understanding the commonality of all the members of a species and the “species” in question is stars.

Hard Science is based on observation and we are ONLY able to actually observe stars, stars and more stars. Collections of stars gathered by gravity, formation of stars caused by gravity in addition to other factors and conditions AND the “death” of stars the manner of which is based on the fact that the main element is hydrogen.

What has really happened is that we’ve worked backwards from what we DO observe about the processes that take place to the realization that it could ONLY happen the way it does if it WERE mainly hydrogen. No other element is simple enough to be used in our models. It’s more deductive detective work than actual “sampling” and measurement. As Holmes would say “It’s elementary…” and in another manner of speaking it’s Occam’s razor at work.

Philosophically and theoretically it’s reasonable to speculate on the possibility of something, as yet, unobservable that could exist but all we can Scientifically study and understand is what we CAN see, using the laws that have held true in the past and the instruments available to us. If there are more “species” out there that are NOT stars is not the question, there may well be. It’s acknowledged openly that “something” (dark matter/dark energy) seems to be contributing to the processes and effects we observe in the universe but that’s still in the realm of speculation, there may be other “properties” of visible matter yet to be discovered but, if so….they will be related somehow to it being hydrogen…IF it IS ordinary matter that’s causing the effect.

Please, in our search for understanding, let’s go forward…not back to the 1920’s!

“Born 10 May 1900; died 7 Dec 1979
Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was an English-born American astronomer who was the first to apply laws of atomic physics to the study of the temperature and density of stellar bodies, and the first to conclude that hydrogen and helium are the two most common elements in the universe. During the 1920s, the accepted explanation of the Sun’s composition was a calculation of around 65% iron and 35% hydrogen. At Harvard University, in her doctoral thesis (1925), Payne claimed that the sun’s spectrum was consistent with another solution: 99% hydrogen with helium, and just 1% iron. She had difficulty persuading her superiors to take her work seriously. It was another 20 years before Payne’s original claim was confirmed, by Fred Hoyle.”

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