Claimed discovery of unbibium
On April 24, 2008, a group led by Marinov at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem claimed to have found single atoms of unbibium-292 in naturally occurring thorium deposits at an abundance of between 10−11 and 10−12 relative to thorium. This was the first time in sixty-nine years that a new element had been claimed to be discovered in nature, after Marguerite Perey's 1939 discovery of francium.[a] The claim of Marinov et al. was criticized by a part of the scientific community, and Marinov said he submitted the article to the journals Nature and Nature Physics but both turned it down without sending it for peer review. The unbibium-292 atoms were claimed to be superdeformed or hyperdeformed nuclear isomers, with a half-life of at least 100 million years.
A criticism of the technique, previously used in purportedly identifying lighter thorium isotopes by mass spectrometry, was published in Physical Review C in 2008. A rebuttal by the Marinov group was published in Physical Review C after the published comment.
A repeat of the thorium experiment using the superior method of accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) failed to confirm the results, despite a 100-fold better sensitivity. This result throws considerable doubt on the results of the Marinov collaboration with regards to their claims of long-lived isotopes of thorium, roentgenium and unbibium. It is still possible that traces of unbibium might exist in some thorium samples, though given current understanding of superheavy elements, this is very unlikely.
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Amnon Marinov lived in Jerusalem, Israel with his wife Rachel; they have four children and six grandchildren. His father, Haim Marinov (1904–2001), was the deputy mayor of Jerusalem from 1964 until 1973. His father-in-law, Ya'akov Maimon (1902–1977), was the inventor of Hebrew stenography and received the Israel Prize in 1976 for his lifelong voluntary work teaching Hebrew to new immigrants all over the country. Amnon Marinov died on December 7, 2011.
- Marinov, A.; Rodushkin, I.; Kolb, D.; Pape, A.; Kashiv, Y.; Brandt, R.; Gentry, R. V.; Miller, H. W. (2008). "Evidence for a long-lived superheavy nucleus with atomic mass number A=292 and atomic number Z=~122 in natural Th". International Journal of Modern Physics E. 19: 131. arXiv:0804.3869. Bibcode:2010IJMPE..19..131M. doi:10.1142/S0218301310014662.
- Royal Society of Chemistry, "Heaviest element claim criticised", Chemical World.
- Emsley, John (2011). Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements (New ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 588. ISBN 978-0-19-960563-7.
- Marinov, A.; Rodushkin, I.; Kashiv, Y.; Halicz, L.; Segal, I.; Pape, A.; Gentry, R. V.; Miller, H. W.; Kolb, D.; Brandt, R. (2007). "Existence of long-lived isomeric states in naturally-occurring neutron-deficient Th isotopes". Phys. Rev. C. 76 (2): 021303(R). arXiv:nucl-ex/0605008. Bibcode:2007PhRvC..76b1303M. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.76.021303.
- R. C. Barber; J. R. De Laeter (2009). "Comment on "Existence of long-lived isomeric states in naturally-occurring neutron-deficient Th isotopes"". Phys. Rev. C. 79 (4): 049801. Bibcode:2009PhRvC..79d9801B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.79.049801.
- A. Marinov; I. Rodushkin; Y. Kashiv; L. Halicz; I. Segal; A. Pape; R. V. Gentry; H. W. Miller; D. Kolb; R. Brandt (2009). "Reply to "Comment on 'Existence of long-lived isomeric states in naturally-occurring neutron-deficient Th isotopes'"". Phys. Rev. C. 79 (4): 049802. Bibcode:2009PhRvC..79d9802M. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.79.049802.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- J. Lachner; I. Dillmann; T. Faestermann; G. Korschinek; M. Poutivtsev; G. Rugel (2008). "Search for long-lived isomeric states in neutron-deficient thorium isotopes". Phys. Rev. C. 78 (6): 064313. arXiv:0907.0126. Bibcode:2008PhRvC..78f4313L. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.78.064313.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
- Marinov, A.; Rodushkin, I.; Pape, A.; Kashiv, Y.; Kolb, D.; Brandt, R.; Gentry, R. V.; Miller, H. W.; Halicz, L.; Segal, I. (2009). "Existence of Long-Lived Isotopes of a Superheavy Element in Natural Au" (PDF). International Journal of Modern Physics E. World Scientific Publishing Company. 18 (3): 621–629. arXiv:nucl-ex/0702051. Bibcode:2009IJMPE..18..621M. doi:10.1142/S021830130901280X. Retrieved February 12, 2012.