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May 8 2014

Superheavy Element 117 Points to Fabled “Island of Stability” on Periodic Table


Physicists have created one of the heaviest elements yet, an atom with 117 protons in its nucleus. This jumbo-sized atom sits on the outer reaches of the periodic table where bloated nuclei tend to become less and less stable. Element 117’s existence gives scientists hope, however, that they are getting closer to discovering a rumored “island of stability” where nuclei with so-called magic numbers of protons and neutrons become long-lived.

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