A synthetic element is one of 24 chemical elements that do not occur naturally on Earth: they have been created by human manipulation of fundamental particles in a nuclear reactor, a particle accelerator, or the explosion of an atomic bomb; thus, they are called synthetic, artificial, or man-made. The synthetic elements are those with atomic numbers 95 to 118, as shown in purple on the accompanying periodic table: these 24 elements were first created between 1944 and 2010. The mechanism for the creation of a synthetic element is to force additional protons onto the nucleus of an element with an atomic number lower than 95. All synthetic elements are unstable, but they decay at a widely varying rate: their half-lives range from 15.6 million years to a few hundred microseconds. Seven other elements that were created artificially were later discovered to exist in nature in trace quantities. The first, technetium, was created in 1937. Plutonium, atomic number 94, first synthesized in 1940, is another such element. It is the element with the largest number of protons to occur in nature, but it does so in such tiny quantities that it is far more practical to synthesize it. Plutonium is extremely well-known due to its use in atomic bombs and nuclear reactors. No elements with an atomic number greater than 99 have any uses outside of scientific research, since they have extremely short half-lives, and thus have never been produced in large quantities. The first element discovered through synthesis was technetium, its discovery being definitely confirmed in 1937. This discovery filled a gap in the periodic table, and the fact that no stable isotopes of technetium exist explains its natural absence on Earth. With the longest-lived isotope of technetium, 97Tc, having a 4.21-million-year half-life, no technetium remains from the formation of the Earth. Only minute traces of technetium occur naturally in the Earth’s crust but technetium is present naturally in red giant stars. The first discovered purely synthetic element was curium, synthesized in 1944 by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso by bombarding plutonium with alpha particles. The discoveries of americium, berkelium, and californium followed soon. Einsteinium and fermium were discovered by a team of scientists led by Albert Ghiorso in 1952 while studying the radioactive debris from the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb. The isotopes discovered were einsteinium-253, with a half-life of 20.5 days, and fermium-255, with a half-life of about 20 hours. The discoveries of mendelevium, nobelium, and lawrencium followed. During the height of the Cold War, teams from the Soviet Union and the United States independently discovered rutherfordium and dubnium. The naming and credit for discovery of these elements remained unresolved for many years, but eventually shared credit was recognized by IUPAC/IUPAP in 1992. In 1997, IUPAC decided to give dubnium its current name honoring the city of Dubna where the Russian team made their discoveries since American-chosen names had already been used for many existing synthetic elements, while the name rutherfordium was accepted for element 104. Meanwhile, the American team had discovered seaborgium, and the next six elements had been discovered by a German team: bohrium, hassium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, roentgenium, and copernicium. Element 113, nihonium, was discovered by a Japanese team; the last five known elements, flerovium, moscovium, livermorium, tennessine, and oganesson, were discovered by Russian–American collaborations and complete the seventh row of the periodic table. All elements with atomic numbers 1 through 94 occur naturally at least in trace quantities, but the following elements are often produced through synthesis. Technetium, promethium, astatine, neptunium, and plutonium were discovered through synthesis before being found in nature. Technetium is a chemical element with the symbol Tc and atomic number 43. It is the lightest element whose isotopes are all radioactive, none of which are stable other than the fully ionized state of 97Tc. Nearly all available technetium is produced as a synthetic element. Naturally occurring technetium is a spontaneous fission product in uranium ore and thorium ore, the most common source, or the product of neutron capture in molybdenum ores. The silvery gray, crystalline transition metal lies between manganese and rhenium in group 7 of the periodic table, and its chemical properties are intermediate between those of both adjacent elements. The most common naturally occurring isotope is 99Tc, in traces only. Many of technetium’s properties had been predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev before it was discovered. Mendeleev noted a gap in his periodic table and gave the undiscovered element the provisional name ekamanganese (Em). In 1937, technetium (specifically the technetium-97 isotope) became the first predominantly artificial element to be produced, hence its name (from the Greek “Craft or Art”, + -ium). One short-lived gamma ray-emitting nuclear isomer, technetium-99m, is used in nuclear medicine for a wide variety of tests, such as bone cancer diagnoses. The ground state of the nuclide technetium-99 is used as a gamma-ray-free source of beta particles. Long-lived technetium isotopes produced commercially are byproducts of the fission of uranium-235 in nuclear reactors and are extracted from nuclear fuel rods. Because no isotope of technetium has a half-life longer than 4.21 million years (technetium-97), the 1952 detection of technetium in red giants helped to prove that stars can produce heavier elements. From the 1860s through 1871, early forms of the periodic table proposed by Dmitri Mendeleev contained a gap between molybdenum (element 42) and ruthenium (element 44). In 1871, Mendeleev predicted this missing element would occupy the empty place below manganese and have similar chemical properties. Mendeleev gave it the provisional name ekamanganese (from eka-, the Sanskrit word for one) because the predicted element was one place down from the known element manganese. Many early researchers, both before and after the periodic table was published, were eager to be the first to discover and name the missing element. Its location in the table suggested that it should be easier to find than other undiscovered elements. German chemists Walter Noddack, Otto Berg, and Ida Tacke reported the discovery of element 75 and element 43 in 1925, and named element 43 masurium (after Masuria in eastern Prussia, now in Poland, the region where Walter Noddack’s family originated). The group bombarded columbite with a beam of electrons and deduced element 43 was present by examining X-ray emission spectrograms. The wavelength of the X-rays produced is related to the atomic number by a formula derived by Henry Moseley in 1913. The team claimed to detect a faint X-ray signal at a wavelength produced by element 43. Later experimenters could not replicate the discovery, and it was dismissed as an error for many years. Still, in 1933, a series of articles on the discovery of elements quoted the name masurium for element 43. Whether the 1925 team actually discovered element 43 is still debated. The discovery of element 43 was finally confirmed in a 1937 experiment at the University of Palermo in Sicily by Carlo Perrier and Emilio Segrè. In mid-1936, Segrè visited the United States, first Columbia University in New York and then the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. He persuaded cyclotron inventor Ernest Lawrence to let him take back some discarded cyclotron parts that had become radioactive. Lawrence mailed him a molybdenum foil that had been part of the deflector in the cyclotron. Segrè enlisted his colleague Perrier to attempt to prove, through comparative chemistry, that the molybdenum activity was indeed from an element with the atomic number 43. In 1937, they succeeded in isolating the isotopes technetium-95m and technetium-97. University of Palermo officials wanted them to name their discovery “panormium”, after the Latin name for Palermo, Panormus. In 1947 element 43 was named after the Greek word meaning “artificial”, since it was the first element to be artificially produced. Segrè returned to Berkeley and met Glenn T. Seaborg. They isolated the metastable isotope technetium-99m, which is now used in some ten million medical diagnostic procedures annually. In 1952, the astronomer Paul W. Merrill in California detected the spectral signature of technetium (specifically wavelengths of 403.1 nm, 423.8 nm, 426.2 nm, and 429.7 nm) in light from S-type red giants. The stars were near the end of their lives but were rich in the short-lived element, which indicated that it was being produced in the stars by nuclear reactions. That evidence bolstered the hypothesis that heavier elements are the product of nucleosynthesis in stars. More recently, such observations provided evidence that elements are formed by neutron capture in the s-process. Since that discovery, there have been many searches in terrestrial materials for natural sources of technetium. In 1962, technetium-99 was isolated and identified in pitchblende from the Belgian Congo in extremely small quantities (about 0.2 ng/kg), where it originates as a spontaneous fission product of uranium-238. The Oklo natural nuclear fission reactor contains evidence that significant amounts of technetium-99 were produced and have since decayed into ruthenium-99.