Elements 110 and 111 in our International Year of the Periodic Table series are darmstadtium and roentgenium – two elements that are tricky to pronounce and difficult for chemists to study.
Credit for the discovery of both of these elements was given to the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany. Like many of the other so-called ‘superheavy’ elements towards the end of the periodic table, not a great deal is known about the chemistry of these elements. This is because their isotopes only exist for minutes, seconds, or fractions of seconds.
Both these elements’ names have links to Germany. Darmstadtium is named after Darmstadt, the city in which the institution where it was discovered was based. ‘Policium’ was a joke suggested name for Darmstadtium, based on the fact that it’s element 110, which is the emergency number in Germany. Roentgenium is named after the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays.
Remember, you can keep track of all of the previous entries in this series on the site here, or on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s dedicated page.