Will we discover any more elements?

There are 118 elements on the periodic table and we've finally completed the seventh row, but that doesn't mean we've seen the last of the new elements.

22nd June 2016
Will we discover any more elements? (Getty)

Asked by: Richard Waite, Stockton

We most definitely will! New elements are created by smashing known ones together at super-fast speeds. Ununoctium (first identified in 2002, but only recently recognised and named) is the heaviest known element and was made by firing about 40 quintillion calcium nuclei (travelling at almost the speed of light) into californium (which is itself man-made)! This made just three ununoctium atoms that hung around for about one millisecond before radioactively decaying. The laboratories that found ununoctium (and other elements) are already busy smashing more atoms together in the search for elements to start a new row of the periodic table. 

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