The periodic table provides a way of presenting chemical information that makes it the fundamental tool of the chemist. Consequently, it is displayed on the wall in most science classrooms. Recent discoveries of new elements have extended the periodic table beyond what was thought was possible in the recent past, and demonstrate the existence of a collection of Superheavy Elements with unusual nuclear properties at the limits of stability. We will study the relationship between atoms and elements, and between nuclei and isotopes. We will discuss how radioactive decay provides both the means of detecting single atoms of new elements, and hinders our ability to study their chemical properties. We will discuss how new elements are produced and identified, and how this leads to experiments that tell us about the extreme limits of chemical behavior, the possible breakdown of periodicity, and the ultimate end of the periodic table.

Speaker Bios

Dr. Ken Moody

Dr. Ken Moody has been a staff member at LLNL since 1985, specializing in heavy element science and radiochemical separations.  He is currently the Chief Scientist for Radiochemistry of the Chemical Sciences Division.  He received his PhD in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983, specializing in chemical separations of the actinides; his research adviser was Nobel Laureate Glenn Seaborg (the discoverer of plutonium). Before joining LLNL, he was a staff member at the GSI laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany, performing heavy element experiments.  He has made radiochemical diagnostic measurements for various national security programs, and played an integral role in the development of the discipline of nuclear forensic analysis at LLNL.  He is also the senior member of LLNL's Heavy Element group, performing basic research at the extreme limits of the periodic table.  Along with collaborators at the JINR laboratory in Russia, the Oak Ridge laboratory, and others here at LLNL, he is the codiscoverer of six elements and more than three dozen heavy isotopes, and has received a First Prize award in nuclear physics from JINR for his work in this area.  He is a recent recipient of the American Chemical Society's Seaborg Award in Nuclear Chemistry.

Dean Reese

Physics and Biology Teacher
Tracy High School

Dean Reese received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Currently, he is the Science Department Chairperson at Tracy High School and has been teaching there since 2002. He teaches IB Physics, Conceptual Physics, and ELL Conceptual Physics. He has been a Master Teacher for LLNL’s Education Program since 2007 and currently instructs in the Computer Simulation Teacher Research Academy. Dean has co-presented with various scientist in many Science on Saturday Presentations. In 2006, Dean had a DOE Academies Creating Teacher Scientists internship where he interned for 3 consecutive summers at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at LLNL. In 2011, Dean was awarded the Cortopassi Family Foundation Excellence in Science Teaching Award. He is a dedicated advisor for the Tracy High Earth Club, Scientifically Speaking Club, and Computer Programming Club. Dean is a master instructor for the SIMMS (Secondary Integration of Modeling in Math and Science) Project with the intent of developing computer modeling skills for high school science and math teachers within the San Joaquin County. Prior to becoming a teacher Dean was a soldier in the United States Army National Guard.