The Elusive End of the Periodic Table: Why Chase It?
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For more than half a century, dedicated and eager groups of scientists have contrived ways to introduce heavier and heavier elements into the universe. Their efforts finally completed the seventh row of the famous—if poorly understood—periodic table of the chemical elements. Now all 118 elements have names, even though most spontaneously decay more quickly than you can say “Oganesson” or “Livermorium.” What now? Continue? Try to start another row? Why? To what end, and at what cost? This talk will explore the economic, societal, and scientific benefits and drawbacks inherent in this pursuit.