Neutron stardust and the elements of Earth

At its inception, the periodic table sorted elements by weight, so it may be surprising that the heaviest natural element on Earth remains controversial, or at best, nebulous. In the strange, perhaps-unfinished search for this weightiest nucleus, the only definitive conclusion is that it lies somewhere beyond uranium.

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Fig. 1: Nuclear reactions that produce, or have the potential to produce, transuranium elements on Earth
Fig. 2: The fermium wall.

Change history

  • 10 January 2019

    In the version of this Comment originally published, the image was incorrectly credited to Chelsea Anne Bar; it should have been to Brett F. Thornton. This has now been corrected.

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Correspondence to Brett F. Thornton or Shawn C. Burdette.

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Thornton, B.F., Burdette, S.C. Neutron stardust and the elements of Earth. Nature Chem 11, 4–10 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41557-018-0190-9

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