Livermorium and Flerovium
The periodic table is a tabular arrangement of the chemical elements, organized on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties. At one ttime the periodic table ended at uranium (element 92)until heavier material were created artificially. These tends to be short lived and unstable. Lawrence Livermore Laboratory employees and city officials have just celebrated the official discovery of the two heaviest elements on the periodic table -- 114, Flerovium, and 116, Livermorium. Director Parney Albright kicked off the celebration acknowledging the collaboration between Lawrence Livermore scientists and researchers from the Flerov Institute in Dubna, Russia, who discovered six heavy elements (113-118) including the latest Flerovium and Livermorium. Earlier in the day, Swalwell presented a certificate of appreciation to the LLNL scientists responsible for discovering Livermorium.
Moody discussed the history of heavy element research and the long-standing collaboration that Livermore has with the Flerov Institute in Dubna.
In late 1998, Polish physicist Robert Smolańczuk published calculations on the fusion of atomic nuclei towards the synthesis of super heavy atoms, including ununoctium. His calculations suggested that it might be possible to make ununoctium and livermorium by fusing lead with krypton under carefully controlled conditions.
The official discovery of livermorium was recognized by IUPAC on 1 June 2011, along with that of flerovium. The name livermorium and the symbol Lv were adopted on May 31, 2012 after an approval process by the IUPAC. The name recognizes the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, within the city of Livermore, California, USA. The city in turn is named after the American rancher Robert Livermore, a naturalized Mexican citizen of English birth.
Flerovium is the radioactive chemical element with the symbol "Fl" and atomic number 114. The element is named after the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, where the element was discovered. The name of the laboratory, in turn, honors the Russian physicist Georgy Flyorov. The name was adopted by IUPAC on May 30, 2012.
The now-confirmed discovery of flerovium was made in June 1999 when the Dubna team repeated the 244Pu reaction. This time, two atoms of element 114 were produced decaying by emission of 9.82 MeV alpha particles with a half-life of 2.6 seconds.
Loveland, of the Livermore Laboratory, discussed how the chemical elements are the fundamental building blocks of nature. He said of the 118 elements on the periodic table, 30 are manmade. "Man has expanded the fundamental building blocks by one-third. The periodic table is a living document. Livermorium will live on forever even if the city of Livermore doesn't."
At the end of the colloquium, Albright presented individual appreciation certificates and special commemorative bottles of "Livermorium" wine to the LLNL element discovery members, including: Dawn Shaughnessy, Ken Moody, Jackie Keneally, Mark Stoyer, Nancy Stoyer, Ron Lougheed (retired), Jerry Landrum (retired) and Carola Gregorich (now working at AREVA). John Wild (deceased), Joshua Patin (now working at Schaffer Labs) and Philip Wilk (now working at DOE Basic Energy Sciences) also were members of the team.
Following the colloquium, the City of Livermore hosted a dedication ceremony in downtown Livermore at the plaza located at 116 S. Livermore Ave. (corner of First Street and Livermore Avenue). Livermore Mayor John Marchand renamed the locale as Livermorium Plaza and introduced a special plaque dedicated the discovery team. Marchand presented a Livermorium flag to Albright in recognition of the latest element being named for LLNL and the city of Livermore.
"I'm in awe of the science and the boundaries you've broken," Marchand said of the discovery team. " We are in rare company because there are only six cities in which an element is named after them."
For further information see Livermorium.
Presentation image by Jamie Douglas via Livermore Laboratory.