By Hamish Johnston
Nine years after physicists in Japan caught the first glimpse of element 113, researchers working at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science have obtained conclusive evidence that they have produced the elusive element.
They spotted six consecutive radioactive decays that begin with an isotope of 113 and end at mendelevium-254. According to a statement from RIKEN, the discovery can be claimed because all six of the decay products were identified unambiguously by the team – which was led by Kosuke Morita.
The statement also says that the discovery “promises to clinch [the Japanese physicists'] claim to naming rights for the 113th element”.
In this week’s Facebook poll we ask:
Physicists in Japan have discovered element 113. What should they call it?
Rikenium (honouring Japan’s national research labs)
Nishinium (honouring pioneering nuclear physicist Yoshio Nishina)
Japonium (honouring Japan)
Other – please suggest with a comment
Have your say by visiting our Facebook page, and please feel free to explain your response by posting a comment below the poll.
Last week we asked “Should the convention for awarding the Nobel Prize for Physics be changed so that it can be given to a large collaboration?” The majority of you (77%) said yes – including Peter Cuttell, who said “The way in which physics is done has changed since the Nobel Foundation was established. The scale, complexity and expense of experiments has required that large (and sometimes multinational) collaborations undertake them.”