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Old 02-08-2006, 06:42 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 22,536
Originally Posted by AWB
Bismuth is one heavier in the periodic table than lead, and the heaviest element that has a stable isotope.
Not anymore.
Bismuth has long been thought to be unstable on theoretical grounds, but not until 2003 was this demonstrated when researchers at the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale in Orsay, France measured the alpha emission half-life of Bi-209 to be 1.9 1019 years, meaning that bismuth is very slightly radioactive, with a half-life over a billion times longer than the current estimated age of the universe.
Ok, so it's not going to set off any radiation alarms, but still.