The periodic table could soon welcome a new element — it's currently unnamed but known as the super heavy element 117. You might want to sit down — it's time for a science lesson.
"It's really exciting because it's the generation of new matter. It's almost like a chill goes up your spine, it's like wow, something new, something really exciting. It's almost akin to a Nobel Prize." (Via YouTube / Periodic Videos)
Element 117 is synthetic and was first created in small amounts back in 2010. A little background — any element with an atomic number higher than uranium's 92 is unstable. Those higher elements undergo a decay process, unlike those that naturally occur. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Armtuk)
In order to create element 117, researchers have to use accelerator technologies to cause specific atoms to fuse together.
"Calcium ions are accelerated to high velocity toward the target of Berkelium atoms... only one of billions fuse with target to create element 117." (Via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)
And that is how the super heavy element is created. But why should we care about the elusive 117?
To put it plainly, one researcher said, "The successful experiments on element 117 are an important step on the path to the production and detection of elements situated on the 'island of stability' of super-heavy elements." (Via E Science News)
As a writer for LiveScience puts it, "If such an 'island' exists, the elements in this theoretical region of the periodic table could be extremely long-lived — capable of existing for longer than nanoseconds — which scientists could then develop for untold practical uses."
So basically, at this point, the implications from the discovery of 117 are endless. Its status as an element will soon be decided by a committee from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.