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Your Questions About How To Discover New Elements

Sharon asks…

Element configuration or Proton?

I have a Science project to do, where I am required to make an article out of a headline a a picture. It follows: “Element Number 119 Discovered at CERN, named Northviewnium” and there is a picture of the LHC. So, i am confused about whether at CERN they discover new elements or fabricate them. And do they actually accelerate metals or non-metals to form new atoms or do the atoms split, when collided? I was also wondering if there is a pattern in the periodic table of elements or there is a rule that implies that an atom of however many electrons will be a metal or a nonmetal or a metal-oid. And, if discovered, it means that the element has existed for a long time but recently found. Which also implies that the element must be stable and can be observed. But my main question is about the pattern of protons that will indicate if the element will be a metal of non-metal. Thanks for any help. 😀 And sorry for the long post.

New Niche Finder answers:

CERN is not discovering elements that already exist. They are fabricating new elements by colliding smaller atoms into each other, hoping that occasionally the colliding atoms will “stick” to each other and form a much larger, previously unknown, element. (The LHC is the machine that accelerates the smaller atoms before they are made to collide.) Most of the time the colliding atoms will split and not form any large, new element. That is why the new elements exist only a few atoms at a time. Only a few atoms are formed in the first place, then because they are radioactively unstable, they quickly decay into smaller atoms. For this reason the chemistry of the man-made elements is nearly unknown because there has never been enough material with which to do chemical experiments. A certain few chemical properties are deduced just from the position occupied in the periodic table by the new element, but those properties have not actually been observed.

Mark asks…

whats was the first discovered element and who discovered it?

New Niche Finder answers:

Probably Gold.

It is chemically unreactive and exists in nature in its pure form. It is also uniquely colored. Pure metal is very rare in nature, so Gold would have caught the attention of neolithic people tens of thousands of years ago.

Copper is more abundant, but rarely found in its pure form. Silver ocassionally also ocurrs pure. However both these metals are subject to corrosion and pure specimens soon resemble ordinary rocks after handling. Only Gold remains a clear, shiny yellow. Gold is also so soft it can be polished with one’s bare hands. This would have kept the Gold permenantly shiny.

Diamonds are pure carbon, but so rare I don’t think anyone paid any attention to them. Most are tiny and look very much like ordinary quartz.

Of course the first (and last) elements any human discovers is Oxygen and Nitrogen. This is the air we breathe, both in our first and our last breath. The next element we experience after birth is Hydrogen and Helium, but only during the daytime. The sun is an enormous glowing sphere of these gasses. If it is night, then the elements are either Tungstun in an incandescent bulb or Mercury in a fluorescent tube.

Nancy asks…

Are there any new elements being discovered recently….?

just wondering……. 😀

New Niche Finder answers:

Yes, in the 1990s, there were 4 newly discovered elements: ‘Ds’ (Z 110), ‘Rg’ (Z 111) and ‘Cn’ (Z 112) discovered by Sigurd Hofmann, and ‘Uuq’ discovered by the Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna. In the 2000s, the Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna discovered about 6 more elements (2 were discovered in 2009 in 2010) but only 1 of all these elements is a confirmed discovery.

William asks…

What are the five most recently discovered elements?

New Niche Finder answers:

Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Metal.

Or, a more modern answer – the transuranic elements:

Lizzie asks…

How were the elements discovered?

How did people figure out that the elements were elements that could not be broken down further? How did they eliminate the possibility that a given element could be broken down further but that man had not yet discovered how?

New Niche Finder answers:

Actually, at the time the elements were being discovered, there were a lot of arguments along exactly those lines. It took about a century to sort it all out.

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