Sign up ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free.

Last I heard, there were 115 elements (natural and artificial, of course). Are there more still being made? If so, why?

I thought this question would be more appropriate on the physics site rather than the chemistry site. But if I'm wrong, do let me know, so I can post it there instead.

share|cite|improve this question
This question is fine here (and you may even get some interesting physics insights which you wouldn't get on Chemistry, like you mentioned in the post). Just a note: if you ever want a question to be migrated to another site, flag it with a custom message asking for migration, instead of reposting. – Manishearth Jan 15 '13 at 6:41
Thank you very much! – chubbycantorset Jan 15 '13 at 7:09

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If by "currently" you mean right this second, then probably -- but we won't know until it works. But if you mean recently, and I'm sure people are working on more, then the answer is yes.

If you look at this table, you'll see that the newest entry is 2010 for Ununseptium. So people are interested in creating new elements.

As for why, my personal opinion is why not? Does science need a reason other than the quest for new knowledge?

But if you want a more professional opinion:

Why do scientists work so hard to create new elements that last for such a short time? According to chemist Dawn Shaughnessy from Livermore’s Chemistry, Materials, and Life Sciences Directorate, “Each new element we discover provides more knowledge about the forces that bind nuclei and what causes them to split apart. This knowledge, in turn, helps us better understand the limits of nuclear stability and the fission process.”

share|cite|improve this answer
Another reason might be that researchers are hoping to eventually be able to create isotopes on the hypothesized island of stability. These might be relatively stable and exhibit properties very different from the other stable elements. This means they could have a range of practical applications, but it's really hard to know before we have produced them. – jkej Jan 15 '13 at 11:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.