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Response to NNadir (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 24, 2018, 11:06 PM

5. It's been said that we run out of stable nuclei "just in time" ...

... because the electronic configurations threaten to get really hairy further on, with the gap between spin α and β e-s getting larger than the gaps between sublevels, so that the next d-subshell might fill halfway before e-s begin to occupy f orbitals -- or likewise f half-filled then starting on g. Yikes, a Periodic Table with variable-length rows !

I read the "baby" version of Seaborg back in high school -- some of it I really didn't understand at the time, and tracked down a copy of it this year to re-read. Really amazed me how **once you had an intense neutron flux available**, the synthesis of several new elements proceeded according to fairly straightforward logic. Seaborg also made it pretty clear that there really wasn't much chance of making macroscopic quantities of further elements, and why not. And those cool pics of microscopic amounts of the new elements ! But mostly, what a unique period for science that was !

That and Jolly really piqued my interest for something beyond the chemistry I knew (I actually read these before high school chemistry). Ireland just didn't have the same effect on me (mostly because I didn't understand all the terms and abbreviations in what was really a college-level book), though the synthesis of cubane managed to catch my attention. Kind of odd that I ended up in organic, given that.

It only lately occurred to me to wonder why one particular library in a small Florida town had these particular books on its shelves, given how sparse their collection was otherwise. Two paths in a wood, and all that.

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