Uup! Goes The Element

According to science press¹, people in white lab² coats and protective goggles at Lund University in Sweden have managed to produce a new element (number 115 of the Periodic Table, to be pedantic about it, a slot which, based on this, I take to have been hitherto vacant and aching for tenants) by banging together innocent and unsuspecting atoms of calcium and americum, successfully making the two elements stick together as one … for less than one second. I find that rather cute, in a sort of Britney Spears’ marriage kind of way.

I vaguely remember a time when the science du jour was to split atoms. Occasionally beer atoms. We’ve been doing that for, what, a century? Beer atoms for far longer, if I know us at all.

Now, although I struggle dearly to picture a commercially viable long-term application of an elusive substance that can only be manufactured at great cost a handful of atoms at a time, each of which with a shelf life of a heartbeat (and I can only try to imagine how they intend to get around that in the terms and conditions of the product warranty), I did take rather fondly to the creativity of the comments section:

“When I was a kid we only had oxygen, carbon, and helium and we got by just fine.”

“When I was a kid we had just protons and electrons and we were grateful.”

“You had protons?! We were so poor we could only afford electrons. And we had to share them. Mom tried to make us feel better by calling it a valence and saying that having it would make us stronger.”

“Protons and electrons? Luxury. We used to dream of protons and electrons. 15 of us lived in a rip in the space-time continuum, with only a bit of dark matter to keep us warm at night. Sure, it wasn’t structurally identified and cataloged, but it was particulate matter to us.”

“Kids and their stinkin’ atomic particles. Back in my day we just had energy. And we were happy, dammit!”

“Geez… All we had was earth, wind, and fire…”

“You kids with your fancy particles and elements. When I was a kid, we had Aether.”

“All we had were Adam and Eve, and believe me – you didn’t want anything else.”

Only the slightest typographical edits by me.

Oh, the Python-ness!


  1. If you missed the link, here
  2. That’s “lab” as in “laboratory”, not “Labrador”. Woof!

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