A series of complicated experiments involving one of the least understood elements of the Periodic Table has turned some long-held tenets of the scientific world upside down.
Florida State University researchers found that the theory of quantum mechanics does not adequately explain how the heaviest and rarest elements found at the end of the table function.
Instead, another well-known scientific theory-Albert Einstein’s famous Theory of Relativity-helps govern the behavior of the last 21 elements of the Periodic Table. Quantum mechanics are essentially the rules that govern how atoms behave and fully explain the chemical behavior of most of the elements on the table.
Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt, the Gregory R. Choppin Professor of Chemistry at FSU, found that these rules are somewhat overridden by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity when it comes to the heavier, lesser known elements of the Periodic Table.
These simple rules do not apply when it comes to elements from berkelium and beyond because some of the electrons line up opposite of the way scientists have long predicted.
Berkelium has been mostly used to help scientists synthesize new elements such as element 117 Tennessine, which was added to the table last year.