Periodic Videos trip to Russia

The main reason for our trip was the inauguration of three new elements - 115, 117 and 118.

Watch the video here:

Here are some photos which tell the story of our trip... Captions are below each picture.

At the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, in Dubna, the office of Georgy Flerov has been preserved as it was when he died in 1990. The calendar lies open (from a few of weeks before his death) and his reading glasses are on the table. Element 114 was named Flerovium in his honour.

Adjacent to Flerov's "museum office" is the office of Yuri Oganessian, who is still the world leader on superheavy elements. Element 118 was named Oganesson in his honour.

Oganessian is based at JNIR's Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions.

Professor Poliakoff sports a Russian tie for inauguration day.

Prof Oganessian arrives at the Central House of Scientists, in Moscow, for the inauguration. Here's a video we made when the names were first announced.

Another element pioneer is there - Professor Sigurd Hofmann. We met him in Germany in 2010 to make videos about other superheavy elements. Watch him here.

Professor Oganessian delivers talk about the island of stability - and continues a great scientific tradition of using comic sans.

The President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is Natalia Tarasova. IUPAC oversees the names of elements and it is her announcement that makes the new names "official'.

Professor Poliakoff takes to the stage and discusses our video project - and how it exciting it was when superheavy elements transformed the table.

Professor Oganessian watches as Professor Poliakoff describes him as a superhero and then gives him a superhero costume (see the video). 

A series of VIP guests then make short speeches and shake Yuri Oganessian's hand.

Oganessian's name will live forever on the periodic table.

Scientists gather the next day for a tour of the facilities at Dubna and a short seminar about the future of element synthesis.

Filming with the professors. Behind them is the cyclotron which speeds the projectile isotopes (very often Calcium-48) to enormous speeds, then fires them down the beamline which is also visible in this photo.

Funnily enough, the lab where the new elements have been made is adorned by this old periodic table which stops at element 104. We could not get any closer due to some radioactive equipment. You might note 104 was being called Kurchatovium (Ku) by Russians at this time.

Super heavy weights! Legends Oganessian and Hofmann chat with Professor Poliakoff.

A better view of the cyclotron and beamline. Behind the blue box atop the cyclotron is where the isotopes are fed into the system.

Now standing atop the cyclotron, you can see the beamline and, beyond the blue wall, the area where the projectile isotopes will smash into the target.

About to film at ground zero. The beam of isotopes streams into the target area and then strikes the target wheel, which is laced with an exotic heavy element. The collision and subsequent fusion happens inside the clear box to the left of the professors. The newly-formed superheavy element then flies into the waiting detector.

Another look at the collision zone, taken from where we are standing in the previous photo. The actual collisions happen inside a secondary box which was not installed at this time.

The target material is loaded onto this fast spinning wheel. Each sector on the outer part of the wheel contains a piece of foil (see at the right) which is coated with a very thin amount of the heavy target isotope.

Professor Oganessian with a small piece of target. When being used, it is laced with an exotic element such as Californium or Berkelium.

To make heavier elements, a better and more powerful set-up is needed. Here is the cyclotron under construction for Dubna's new Superheavy Elements Factory.

Oganessian peers into the void where, eventually, isotopes will be spun to enormous velocities and then slung towards targets.

The collisions will happen in adjacent rooms. The experiments and beamlines are not yet installed, but on the far wall you can see the holes in the wall which will eventually accommodate the beams.

View through the "beamline hole", looking back to the cyclotron in the adjacent hall.

So perhaps this is the room where elements 119 and 120 will be created - and maybe even elements beyond.

Dubna sits on the Volga River (Europe's longest) and includes a section called the Mendeleev Embankment.

The river attracts families at the weekend...

And occasionally visiting science professors.

Dubna has many monuments to its science pioneers.

Thank you to everyone at JNIR for hosting us - but especially Professor Oganessian who was very generous with his time.