Super-Superheavy Elements

  • Helge Kragh
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Science and Technology book series (BRIEFSHIST)


Since the mid-1990s nine more superheavy elements synthesised in either cold or hot fusion processes have entered the periodic table. Elements with atomic numbers 110–112 were produced in Darmstadt, Germany, whereas most of the other elements owed their discoveries to collaborations of Russian and American scientists. The exception to the German-Russian-American hegemony was element 113 discovered by a team of Japanese scientists and named nihonium after their country. The heaviest of all elements so far, oganesson with Z = 118, is presently the only element named after a still living scientist. Apart from outlining the discovery histories of the very heavy elements the chapter also considers the role played by IUPAC and associated working groups in the formal and final recognition of the new elements. It ends with references to some quite unserious aspects of hypothetical superheavy elements and their often fanciful names.


Superheavy elements IUPAC Joint working party Yuri oganessian Kōsuke morita Heaviest element 


  1. Anon: New element discovered. SEAC Commun. 8, 3 (1990)Google Scholar
  2. Armbruster, P., Münzenberg, G.: An experimental paradigm opening up the world of superheavy elements. Eur. Phys. J. H 37, 310–327 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barber, R.C., et al.: Discovery of the element with atomic number 112. Pure Appl. Chem. 81, 1331–1343 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barber, R.C., et al.: Discovery of the elements with atomic numbers greater than or equal to 113. Pure Appl. Chem. 83, 1485–1498 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burdette, S.C., et al.: Another four bricks in the wall. Nature Chem. 8, 283–288 (2016)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman, K.: What it takes to make a new element. Chem. World. (2016)
  7. Corish, J.: Procedures for the naming of a new element. Chem. Int. 38(March), 9–11 (2016)Google Scholar
  8. Hadhazy, A.: Where does the periodic table end? Discov. Mag. (2015)
  9. Hoffman, D.C., Ghiorso, A., Seaborg, G.T.: Transuranium People: The Inside Story. Imperial College Press, London (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hofmann, S.: On Beyond Uranium: Journey to the End of the Periodic Table. Taylor & Francis, London (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hofmann, S., et al.: New results on elements 111 and 112. Eur. Phys. J. A 14, 147–157 (2002)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jarlskog, C.: Validation of new superheavy elements and IUPAC-IUPAP joint working group. EPJ Web Conf. 131, 06004 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Karol, P.J.: The Mendeleev-Seaborg periodic table: Through Z = 1138 and beyond. J. Chem. Educ. 79, 60–63 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Karol, P.J., et al.: On the claims for discovery of elements 110, 111, 112, 114, 116, and 118. Pure Appl. Chem. 75, 1601–1611 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Karol, P.J., et al.: Discovery of the elements with atomic numbers Z = 113, 115 and 117. Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 139–153 (2016)Google Scholar
  16. Koppenol, W.H.: Naming of new elements. Pure Appl. Chem. 74, 787–791 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koppenol, W.H., et al.: How to name new chemical elements. Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 401–405 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kragh, H.: Superheavy elements and the upper limit of the periodic table: early speculations. Eur. Phys. J. H 38, 411–431 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lemaître, G.: The beginning of the world from the point of view of quantum theory. Nature 127, 706 (1931)ADSCrossRefMATHGoogle Scholar
  20. Loss, R.D., Corish, J.: Names and symbols of the elements with atomic numbers 114 and 116. Pure Appl. Chem. 84, 1669–1672 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Merrill, P.: Cosmic chemistry. Astr. Soc. Pacific, Leaflet 2, 25–28 (1933)Google Scholar
  22. Öhrström, L., Reedijk, J.: Names and symbols of the elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118. Pure Appl. Chem. 88, 1225–1229 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Oganessian, YuT, et al.: Observation of the decay of 292116. Phys. Rev. C 63, 011301 (2000)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Oganessian, YuT, et al.: Experiments on the synthesis of element 115 in the reaction Am(48Ca, xn)291–x115. Phys. Rev. C 69, 021601 (2004)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oganessian, YuT, et al.: Synthesis of a new element with atomic number Z = 117. Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 142502 (2010)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Niels Bohr ArchiveNiels Bohr InstituteCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations