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Super Heavy Elements exploring the limits for the existence of elementary matter
Chemical elements are the building blocks of our world, animated and unanimated. Their creation in the cosmos and in the laboratory, and the limits of their existence are the subject of this colloquium.
The lightest elements created in the big bang are the fuel of suns. Here light elements and sunlight, the bases for live on earth, are generated in fusion processes. The heavier elements up to uranium are created in stellar explosions. Is this the end? Searches for super heavy elements in nature have been made. All transuranium elements are man-made, created in the laboratory. The heaviest one at present is element 118. The history of discoveries will be addressed briefly with emphasis on the way which led to the heaviest elements known today. How are they made, how are they detected, what are their chemical and physical chemical properties? Does the Mendelejev periodic table of elements break down for the heaviest atomic nuclei? Super heavy elements can only exist by their shell structure as doubly magic nuclei. How close have we come to the doubly magic region and what are the prospects? The reactions of synthesis play a key role.
The creation of super heavy nuclei is a technical challenge. The key to the discoveries are powerful heavy-ion accelerators and fast and ultra-sensitive detection methods working with individual nuclei. Developments, results, new-generation laboratories and instrumentation will be presented