Matter & Energy

Matter is composed of atoms or groups of atoms called molecules. The arrangement of particles in a material depends on the physical state of the substance. In a solid, particles form a compact structure that resists flow. Particles in a liquid have more energy than those in a solid. They can flow past one another, but they remain close. Particles in a gas have the most energy. They move rapidly and are separated from one another by relatively large distances.


Ununoctium (y'nənŏk`tēəm), artificially produced radioactive chemical element; symbol Uuo; at. no. 118. Scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California collaborated in the discovery of ununoctium in experiments conducted in 2002 and 2005. They bombarded atoms of californium-249 with ions of calcium-48. Among the products of the bombardments were three atoms of ununoctium-294 (one atom in 2002 and two in 2005), each of which decayed in 0.9 milliseconds into an atom of ununhexium by emitting an alpha particle. No name has yet been adopted for element 118, which is therefore called ununoctium, from the Latin roots un for one and oct for eight, under a convention for neutral temporary names proposed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1980.

In 1999 a research team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Calif. bombarded lead-208 atoms with high-energy krypton-86 ions to create what an analysis showed to be three atoms of element 118 with mass number 293 and a half-life of less than a millisecond. In 2001, however, the team retracted its claim to have produced ununoctium after other laboratories failed to reproduce their results and after a reanalysis of the original data did not show the production of element 118. A subsequent investigation suggested that the original finding was the result of fraud on the part of one of the team scientists.