Evolution of the Periodic Table

Finally, I'll just end with a little bit of science. This is the periodic table as it was when I made the change that made it possible to go on and discover the transuranium elements. I moved these elements, here, down here so then you could predict the chemical properties of these elements. We had been predicting them erroneously. Now element 95 would be like europium, 96 like gadolinium, and 97 like terbium, and so forth. For this I got the Nobel Prize. I would like to point that out to show you how easy it is.

Periodic table showing the heavy elements as members of an actinide series. Glenn T. Seaborg formulated this arrangement in 1944 and it was first published in Chemical and Engineering News in December 1945. Modern periodic table of the elements projected to element 118. Lanthanide (La) and actinide (Ac) series shown. With elements 106 (Sg), 107 (Ns), 108 (Hs), 109 (Mt), 110, 111, and 112 discovered.

So here we are today. All the way up to the unnamed elements 110, 111, and 112. Seaborgium is under tungsten, it's an eka-tungsten. As I like to say, I'm looking forward . . . Darleane just showed me a copy of an article on the chemistry of seaborgium that they're just sending in. It has isotopes that are sufficiently long lived so one can do chemistry. I'm looking forward to the day when we're going to be talking about seaborgous and seaborgic and seaborgate ions. Finally, here is a periodic table to end periodic tables. Here I've gone beyond element 118 all the way on up to the next noble gas, it would be a noble liquid.

Futuristic periodic table of the elements projected to element 168. With lanthanide (La), actinide (Ac) and superactinide series shown. With elements 106 (Sg), 107 (Ns), 108 (Hs), 109 (Mt), 110, 111 and 112 discovered.
Just as there are lanthanides and actinides, filling in inner electron shells there is a group that I call the "superactinides" in which there are two inner electron shells, so instead of being 14 members, as there is here (lanthanides), and here (actinides), there are 14 plus 18, or 32 members of that "superactinide" series, and then we go on up to 168. Unfortunately, the half lives of these elements are too short and we don't have any reactions for reaching them, so I think we'll do well to just go on up another half-dozen elements or so that we'll probably be able to find methods of producing and identifying on this very difficult one-atom-at-a-time basis.

That brings me to the end of my talk. Thank you very much.

Last modified 23-July-97
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