Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | November 26, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—November 27, 2009: Greetings from the Island of Stability

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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Oliver Sacks (1933 –) is an American Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University.  He is also the author of several popular science books, including, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (2007), Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood (2001), and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (1985)

This week’s text is his Op-Ed essay in the February 8, 2004 edition of the New York Times, “Greetings from the Island of Stability”, about the discovery of elements 113 and 115.   

The essay’s title refers to the theory that certain elements with very large atomic mass can have a long half-life.  This is possible because protons and neutrons can occupy shells in the nucleus (much like electrons in orbitals) that give the nucleus increased stability and a longer half-life.

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event! You can find Sacks’ text at this website:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/08/opinion/08SACK.html?pagewanted=all

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