A team in the southwest German city of Darmstadt first produced 112 in 1996 by firing charged zinc atoms through a 120-meter-long particle accelerator to hit a lead target. (Is it just me, or is that kind of hot?)
"The new element is approximately 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element in the periodic table," the scientists at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The zinc and lead nuclei were fused to form the nucleus of the new element, also known as Ununbium, Latin for 112.(blah blah blah, here's the whole Reuters article)
The 112 refers to the sum of the atomic numbers of zinc, which has 30, and lead, which has 82. Atomic numbers denote how many protons are found in the atom's nucleus. (I love this.)
In 1925, scientists discovered the last naturally occurring element on the periodic table (FYI: Uranium). Since then researchers have sought to create new, heavier elements.
Proving the existence of atoms with such a high mass, the so-called superheavy elements, is a complex procedure because they exist for only tiny fractions of a second and then decay radioactively into other elements.*****
Creating new elements, that's so God Particle. And something about atomic nuclei forcibly fusing to produce something brand new that only exists for fractions of seconds is so Las Vegas, baby.