Molecules

The Periodic Table's New Element

Quick, re-write the science textbooks--news out of Germany is elemental. A German team led by Sigurd Hofmann at the Center for Heavy Ion Research has been credited with the discovery of "super-heavy" element 112, the BBC reports. Hoffman's team first observed a single molecule of the element more then a decade ago, but now that the find has been independently verified, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has finally recognized it. Only four molecules of the element, made by firing zinc ions at lead atoms to create fusion, have ever been observed, and its heavy nucleus is extremely unstable, decaying within a few milliseconds of formation. Although IUPAC has temporarily named the element ununbium, the Latin meaning roughly "one one two", Hoffmann's team must propose an official name.