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Hassium is a metallic chemical element in the transactinide group on the periodic table of elements, placing it among the heaviest of known elements. Like other transactinides, hassium can also be produced synthetically, by bombarding other elements in a linear accelerator. Because synthetic production of elements is expensive and time consuming, it should come as no surprise to learn that there are no commercial uses for this element.
The chemical properties of this element are not very well known, because so far the only isotopes which have been produced have been too short lived to study. Hassium isotopes exist for a few milliseconds at a time before decaying; like other transactinides, hassium is extremely unstable. Hassium is also classified as a transuranic element, joining other elements with an atomic number higher than that of uranium. Transuranic elements share the trait of radioactivity.
The atomic number of this element is 108, and it is identified with the symbol Hs on the periodic table of elements. It presumably shares chemical traits with other transactinide elements, but given that only small amounts of it have been produced, it is hard to pin down the specifics of this element. Like other transactinides, hassium is primarily used in scientific research, in the hopes of learning more about it and other heavy elements.
Credit for the discovery of this element is generally given to the German researchers Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Munzenburg, who found a hassium isotope by bombarding lead in Darmstadt, Germany. This discovery occurred in 1984; the men proposed “hassium” as a name in a reference to the Latin name for the German state where the element was discovered.
Initially, hassium was named unniloctium by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), until the discovery could be confirmed and credited. These transitional names are common to many of the transactinide elements. The IUPAC then proposed “hahnium” as a name for the element, but by 1997 element 108 was generally known as hassium, and the name stuck.