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David Nightingale: Administratium (Ad)

 Spring has sprung—what better now than a little review of atomic physics.

In the Bohr atom tiny electrons orbit a heavy nucleus, and this nucleus consists of neutrons and protons. The feather-light electrons that orbit this nucleus carry a negative charge, and the 2000 times heavier protons carry an opposite, or positive, charge. Thus, if there are, say, 79 electrons buzzing around, there must also be 79 protons in the nucleus. We say this element has an 'atomic number' of 79—so if we look it up in a table—even in Websters or other dictionary, we see this 79th element is gold. The first element, with atomic number "1",  is hydrogen, having just 1 electron, and for the insatiably curious, the 66th element is dysprosium, from the Greek word, 'disprositos', meaning 'hard to get at'—and indeed hard to find a description of, even in Goodsearch.org. We should add that there is also some useless ballast beside the protons—doing nothing, and they are called neutrons.

So far so good—that's the Neils Bohr atom.

The particle that holds the nucleus together—after all, protons want to repel each other because like charges repel—is the meson, predicted by that wonderful Japanese theorist, Hideki Ogawa, who adopted his wife's family's name, Yukawa, upon marriage. HidekiYukawa's mysterious meson, is called an exchange particle, and it magically holds the nucleus together. We say magically, because we don't see the meson in everyday life, plus it only lives for nano-seconds. It wasn't found until 1947.

Recently,  I came across a typescript, author unknown, describing a new element—Administratium, or (Ad)—and this element appears to be the heaviest known to science. It might not appear in the dictionary, but has been observed at dozens of institutions. While Ad has been measured in the lab as being undeniably heavy, its nucleus contained no protons at all. While we saw that the atomic number of gold was 79, because of its 79 electrons and/or protons, (Ad), without any electrons, must consequently have atomic number zero.

However, the neutron count is unusual: there is only one neutron at the center. So how come it's the heaviest element? Well, administratium also has 75 associate neutrons, 125 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons. Adding these up gives it an atomic mass of 312—much heavier than anything so far known.

These 312 central particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of -- not mesons—but memos.

Because Administratium has no orbiting electrons it is inert. Nevertheless, it can be detected chemically, because of its property of impeding all reactions in which it takes part.

According to Dr. Liebfraumilch, one of the earlier discoverers of the element, it was soon noted that a small amount of Administratium had caused one common reaction, normally known to take less than a minute, actually to take more than four days to go to completion.

Researchers at some institutions found that Administratium is also radioactive, with a half-life of approximately 3 years. Interestingly, at the end of this period it does not actually decay, but instead undergoes an internal re-organization in which the associates to the neutron, and the deputy associate neutrons, as well as assistant deputy associate neutrons, all exchange places.

Further studies have indicated that Administratium's high atomic mass actually increases after each re-organization. This is a small, steady gain, thought to be irreversible.

Finally, I must acknowledge all the unknown scientists who originally discovered and worked on Administratium, and I hope I'm close enough to April 1st to get away with this.

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