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Darmstadtium - element with atomic number 110

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I was browsing the periodic table of elements at the weekend, as you do, when I came across darmstadtium.


Apparently this element is completely non-existant in the natural environment. The first ever synthetic atom of it was detected at 4.39pm on Wednesday 9th November 1994. It was produced by fusing a nickel and lead atom in a high-energy atomic particle accelerator in Darmstadt (Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung).


Darmstadtium was found to have a lifetime of less than a thousandth of a second. It decays into lighter elements by emitting alpha particles.


Some had suggested (for fun) the name "policium" because 110 is the emergency telephone number for the German police.


The image shown here is an artist's representation of a darmstadtium atom, with the electrons swirling around a central nucleus.


Other random facts about Darmstadt:

  • The city has a population of around 138,500 and is located 30km directly south of Frankfurt.
  • Literally translated, "Darmstadt" means "City of the intestine". This is just a coincidence, however, as the name derives from the medieval name "darmundestat". The Darm(bach) is a small creek running through the city.
  • Darmstadt is twinned with Chesterfield in the UK.

Actually, my browsing of the periodic table wasn't completely random. I was there whilst looking up the details of polonium, the radioisotope that was used to poison Alexander Litvinenko earlier this month.


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