When scientists discover a new element, they analyze it and its behavior — its half life, its behavior in reaction, its electromagnetic properties, etc. First, though, they have to develop a relatively reliable way of synthesizing the element, so that testing can be done in the first place. This data is then fitted into the traditional cannon, as chemists try to figure out what happens with heavier and heavier elements — the so-called “island of stability” is one of the foremost puzzles in chemistry.
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