Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have confirmed the existence of a new, synthetic element, seven years after it was discovered by Russian and American scientists. Although it doesn’t have a proper name yet, Ununpentium, so called after its place–115th–in the periodic table is a superheavy element that is actually the by-product of bombarding another element, americium, with calcium, and whose existence only lasts for a fraction of a second.
Before No. 115 takes its place at the periodic table, it has to be rubber-stamped by the experts–in this case, a committee whose members come from the various international bodies of pure and applied physics and chemistry. The table’s most recent recruits include copernicium and livermorium, which was named in May 2012. So, what would you call this one? It’s a favorite of conspiracy theorists who have claimed it’s used in UFO technology, and Call of Duty gamers.
[Image: Flickr user Brian Cantoni]