Nihonium – Periodic Table of Videos

published on July 17, 2020

Element 113 is the only one that I've discussed with an ambassador in fact it's the only one I've discussed with two ambassadors because I've discussed it with both the old and the new Japanese ambassador to London and the reason why I was discussing it is

Because element 113 is the first element to be definitely synthesized in Japan and so it is a huge excitement in the country I was in Tokyo in February this year 2016 and I met a representative of RIKEN the lab where these elements were

Synthesized and they gave me a press release about the element the really exciting thing from their point of view is that they get to choose the name of this element now you have to understand that making these so-called super-heavy

Elements is not a quick process it's not like boiling things up in a testable and finding a new element it takes years and years and years and over the history of the search for elements the last 200 years there have been hundreds of claims

By people believing that they have discovered new elements so now the process is extremely rigorous and now they've got to the final stage and the name has been chosen the name they chose was Nihon ium which is a latinized

Version of the Japanese name for Japan Nihon am sure I pronounced that incorrectly the experiments that led to this discovery began a long time ago more than 12 years ago and like all elements of this part of the periodic

Table they're made by taking a heavy element in this case bismuth atomic number 83 and the light element this case zinc accelerating the zing to a huge speed and the nuclei fused together to make an element of 113 what

You have to realize is that you take billions and billions and perhaps trillions of zinc atoms to get one atom of element 113 apparently the Japanese lab observed three atoms over a period of nine years so this is not something

That you do quickly on a Friday afternoon and published the next day a huge amount of verification is needed to make sure that what you see is genuine and the way that you detect these elements is that once they've formed

They shoot out the back of the bismuth target onto a detector and then they decay radioactively into a chain of different elements and this chain of elements tells you which elements you've formed because soon you get to part of

The periodic table where you know how the elements decay what is amazing though is that people can also tell a little bit about the chemistry of these elements you can only do a limited amount of chemistry when you have one

Atom at a time but what they can do is to bounce the element the atom when it's ejected off some sort of surface say gold or Teflon and see if there is any difference between the way they stick you can tell quite a bit about the

Element just from this sticking and in fact their measurements have been made and element 113 does stick to gold quite strongly this part of the periodic table is really unusual because just by chance the way the atomic numbers add up the

Number of the element 113 is the same as the group it's in at least the 13 is its in group 13 the same element as boron and if you go element 113 dehonian is just below valium and we know quite a lot about the

Chemistry of talion particularly it's very poisonous now you can't tell whether neoneun will be poisonous because you only have one atom even if you could get one atom inside somebody it would not poison them chemically

Though it's radioactive decay could cause damage one of the things that's really interesting about thallium is that it has three electrons in its outer shell and in its chemistry it can lose either one of these to make thallium

Plus salts or it can lose all three and I suspect that in the chemistry of element 113 the plus 1 state would be even more prominent than in the chemistry of thallium because if you go up the periodic table in the same group

To aluminium you don't get aluminium plus at all Nihon ium is in the same group so it has three outer electrons in just the same way as thallium assuming that the electrons are arranged in the same configuration because when you get

To these large atoms their energy levels of the different shells are very close together so it would be possible in least in theory for the configuration to be different but people assume that it will be three electrons arranged in the

Same way as in boron but much larger shell the difficulty is that as the atoms get bigger and if you imagine the electron like a particle there you have to go round and round in the shell and the

Speeds they're going round approach the speed of light and therefore their mass changes and you get so-called relativistic effects we made the video about this on the properties of mercury which is a much lighter element than

Elemental in 13 so people will have to do quite a lot of calculations and in the end unfortunately these will just be theory because it would be very difficult to verify them now the important question

That people always ask is what in earth is the point of making elements like this and the answer is that it gives us a much better understanding of how the protons and the neutrons in the nucleus bind together

And it's only when you look at the extremes when they are binding together relatively weakly that you can test whether your theories are any good so although it's an enormous ly expensive experiment the results are really very

Useful professor Joe we've not already know enough about how protons and neutrons work I mean we can make atom bombs and nuclear energy we understand the everyday elements very well why do we need to know more have we not we're

Not sort of got our head around enough the radium nucleus threw up an alpha particle consisting of two protons and two neutrons the importance of these experiments is that there have been predictions that when you get very heavy

Elements the so called super-heavy elements they may become more stable than one might expect in general what has been found as people have gone up to height heavier and heavier nuclei they've become less and less stable but

Now there is some indication that these very heavy elements are more stable than one might expect that doesn't mean they're very stable they may only last a small fraction of a second but that's longer than people might have expected

Just by extrapolating the lifetimes of the other ones I think it's a great honor to anybody to any country and I think it is a very nice example of collaboration between different countries because although it was

Discovered in Japan its existence was verified and justified by experiments in Germany and Russia so it's a very good example of international collaboration I find the name slightly difficult to pronounce but it's a lot better than

Aeryn to Guinean which I find almost impossible to pronounce this is the press release and on the back is a photo of the leader of the team professor Morita with presumably the periodic table showing

His element but the thing I really like is the quotation at the end it says for Morita then part of the coming year will be devoted to thinking of and proposing a formal name they've now done that but he's looking forward to the next step in

His research we plan now to look to the uncharted territory of element 119 and beyond aiming to examine the chemical properties of the elements in the 7th and 8th row of the periodic table and Sunday to discover the island of

Stability so all being well there'll be lots more periodic videos on the subject oh I'm wearing a Japanese happy which was given to me in Tokyo by a great fan Naga yes or now WA and you can see unfortunately element 113 comes here in

My armpit it's a really nice periodic table and it's even better on the back walk along and see where the ants cope

By the time we get to here the ions already traveling at five percent of the speed of light hits the targets here and Seville portaits is about 1,000 500 shion's per minute

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