• Question: How many more elements do you believe are still to be discovered?!

    Asked by Niamh to Ahmed, Francesca, George, James on 19 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      great question Niamh,

      There are loads of heavy elements down the bottom of the periodic table that don’t exist on earth – but that we can fleetingly make.

      The periodic table did predict (by having obvious gaps) some elements that we hadn’t at the time known about (technicium used in PET scans is an example) but now the table is full and the only way to have new elements is by adding on the bottom (by adding protons to heavy metals to make them heavier metals).

      The new elements are all very unstable though and survive only fractions of seconds before they decompose.

      There is a theory that suggests element number 126 might be exceptionally stable – but we haven’t made it yet.

    • Photo: Ahmed Osman

      Ahmed Osman answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      Hi Niamh,
      thanks for this genius question
      In my opinion almost all elements that occur naturally on our planet have been discovered, but it is possible that there are still many undiscovered elements, perhaps elements that are not normally found on Earth. In big stars like supernova they have enough energy to produce new elements by using nuclear fission of Hydrogen and Helium (do you know that the whole energy of earth can not produce one element of Iron (Fe)) . particles within an atom collide, creating enough energy to produce new elements. So I think if we have the abilities to go outside our galaxy will will find thousand may be millions of new elements

      hope it is clear 🙂

    • Photo: Francesca Paradisi

      Francesca Paradisi answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      James gave you a great answer, I quote him!