Turning It Up to 119


Chemistry World reports that a group of Japanese scientists will begin trying to synthesize element 119 in December.

In 2016, the Riken team, led by Kosuke Morita, was recognised by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry as the first to make element 113, nihonium, by bombarding bismuth with zinc ions. To reach 119, however, the team will bombard a curium target with a vanadium ion beam. The target has been supplied by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, US, which previously collaborated as part of a US—Russian team under Yuri Oganessian to discover element 117, tennessine. For the 119 experiment, En’yo says two beam lines will run concurrently – Riken will start with a cyclotron beam while upgrading its linear accelerator, before continuing the search with both machines. ‘[They] will then run in parallel until the discovery is made,’ En’yo confirmed.

The team will also be attempting to synthesize element 120.

I’m so old that I remember when there were only four elements—earth, air, fire, and water. Life keeps becoming more complicated.

UPDATE—I notice that the scientists say that their search could take five years or so. Good. That means I won’t have to upgrade my shower curtain for a while.