In Your Element

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  • The first element to be identified one atom at a time was named after the main architect of the modern periodic table. This seemingly straightforward etymological choice illustrates how scientific recognition can eclipse geopolitical tensions, says Anne Pichon.

    • Anne Pichon
    In Your Element
  • Lanthanum is the first lanthanide — or the last. Or it’s not a lanthanide at all. In any case, Brett Thornton and Shawn Burdette are sure that it’s an element that might or might not be in group three of the periodic table.

    • Brett F. Thornton
    • Shawn C. Burdette
    In Your Element
  • Yuri Oganessian relates the story of the formation and decay of a doubly odd moscovium nucleus.

    • Yuri Oganessian
    In Your Element
  • Stuart Cantrill explains why looking to the heavens for element 61 — named after the Titan who stole fire from the gods — could extend the periodic table.

    • Stuart Cantrill
    In Your Element
  • Liz Williams explores the synthesis of tennessine, a story in which elements in supporting roles play a crucial part.

    • Elizabeth Williams
    In Your Element
  • Shawn C. Burdette and Brett F. Thornton examine hafnium’s emergence from ores containing a seemingly identical element to become both a chemical oddity and an essential material for producing nuclear energy.

    • Shawn C. Burdette
    • Brett F. Thornton
    In Your Element
  • Taye Demissie relates unununium’s unusually smooth route to roentgenium, and how predicting its properties relies on relativistic calculations.

    • Taye B. Demissie
    In Your Element
  • Vikki Cantrill tells the story of element 88’s discovery and how its glowing reputation eventually faded.

    • Vikki Cantrill
    In Your Element
  • Kit Chapman explores the voyage to the discovery of element 118, the pioneer chemist it is named after, and false claims made along the way.

    • Kit Chapman
    In Your Element
  • Scientists take nomenclature seriously, but tritium was named in a casual aside. Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette discuss the heavy, radioactive hydrogen isotope that is available for purchase online.

    • Brett F. Thornton
    • Shawn C. Burdette
    In Your Element
  • Adrian Dingle relates how one ‘element’ that fell off the periodic table was eventually replaced by two.

    • Adrian Dingle
    In Your Element
  • From its scarcity to political intrigue over naming conventions, element 108’s story describes how international cooperation overcame the limits of nuclear science, says Michael Tarselli.

    • Michael A. Tarselli
    In Your Element
  • Lars Öhrström suspects that as time goes by, we may see more of lutetium — the last of the lanthanoids.

    • Lars Öhrström
    In Your Element
  • Shawn C. Burdette and Brett F. Thornton explore how germanium developed from a missing element in Mendeleev's periodic table to an enabler for the information age, while retaining a nomenclature oddity.

    • Shawn C. Burdette
    • Brett F. Thornton
    In Your Element
  • Geng Deng relates how terbium, a garden-variety lanthanide, has found its way into our daily lives owing to its green phosphorescence.

    • Geng Deng
    In Your Element
  • Named after a mysterious place, thulium — one of the rarest rare earths — has some exotic chemistry in store for us, says Polly Arnold.

    • Polly Arnold
    In Your Element
  • Iulia Georgescu explains her fascination with the elusive element 113.

    • Iulia Georgescu
    In Your Element
  • Dieter Ackermann explains why element 110 occupies a significant place in the superheavy corner of the periodic table.

    • Dieter Ackermann
    In Your Element
  • The first new element produced after the Second World War has led a rather peaceful life since entering the period table — until it became the target of those producing superheavy elements, as Andreas Trabesinger describes.

    • Andreas Trabesinger
    In Your Element
  • Adrian Dingle tells the story of how the name of element 109 represents the lasting recognition that one of the greatest nuclear physicists was in danger of never receiving.

    • Adrian Dingle
    In Your Element