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Island of Stability

A nuclear chemist aims to create entirely new elements to add to the periodic table.
Publish Date: Topic: Physics + MathPhysics & MathBrand: NOVA ScienceNOWNOVA ScienceNOW

(This video is no longer available for streaming.) Chemical elements are the fundamental building blocks of nature, and while most of them—carbon, copper, iron, neon, etc.—were born within stars, scientists like nuclear chemist Ken Moody are struggling to create new ones in the lab. According to a theory pioneered by Moody's mentor, Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg, if researchers can somehow manage to pack just the right number of protons and neutrons into a nucleus, they will reach what Seaborg called the "island of stability." Their new elements should be remarkably stable and could have extraordinary properties. Travel with NOVA scienceNOW inside the nucleus of an atom to learn how protons and neutrons interact and how even the tiniest constituents of nature can be manipulated.

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