Photopoint for the anniversary: 25 years ago the chemical element darmstadtium was discovered


It was one of the greatest successes in fundamental research at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and at the same time a moment that became a landmark in the history of the city of Darmstadt: that November 9, 1994, at 4:39 p.m., when for the first time the chemical element 110 was produced in the GSI particle accelerator. In the meantime, it is named after its place of discovery "darmstadtium" and Darmstadt, the city of science, is the only German city eternalized in the periodic table of the elements. In addition, the element gave its name to the science and congress center "darmstadtium". GSI and the congress center remember the discovery 25 years ago with a specially designed photopoint in the foyer of the "darmstadtium", which has now been opened on the occasion of the anniversary.

The new photopoint symbolizes cutting-edge research, which is world-leading and at the same time rooted in the region, and, as a further piece of the mosaic, sharpens the profile of Darmstadt as a city of science. The Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, Professor Paolo Giubellino, and the Lord Mayor of Darmstadt, Jochen Partsch, jointly opened the event. Professor Sigurd Hofmann, head of the discovery team of the element darmstadtium, gave a review of the history around the first production of element 110. The anniversary of the darmstadtium's first production also coincides with the International Year of the Periodic Table proclaimed by the United Nations: 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the Periodic Table.

The photopoint shows the decisive steps of the chemical element darmstadtium: discovery on November 9, 1994, official recognition by IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) on August 15, 2003, naming ceremony on December 2, 2003. In addition, the decay chain of the element is depicted, the measurement of which allows the identification of the element.

To produce darmstadtium, nickel nuclei in a particle accelerator are shot with a speed of around 30,000 kilometers per second onto an extremely thin lead foil. When the two atomic nuclei merge, the element darmstadtium is formed. GSI also succeeded in discovering five other chemical elements: bohrium, hassium, meitnerium, roentgenium and copernicium. So, thanks to GSI, also the state of Hesse is the only German federal state to be honored in the periodic table.

In addition to all the reviews, the hashtag #UniverseInTheLab at the photopoint indicates the future: With the international accelerator center FAIR, currently under construction at GSI, scientists will be able to study the universe in the laboratory to address fundamental questions such as the origin of the chemical elements and the evolution of the universe.

The photopoint is 2.5 meters high, 1.2 meters wide and stands on a small platform. The arrangement also includes a 40-centimetre luminous cube to symbolize the element darmstadtium, which is very tiny in physical reality and only exists for a fraction of a second. The guests in the congress center can set themselves in scene in this photographic backdrop and eternalize themselves with a lot of imagination – an exciting piece of science to touch. The resulting photos can be published under the hashtag #UniverseInTheLab. (BP)


The GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt operates one of the world's leading particle accelerator facilities for research. Researchers from all over the world use the facility for experiments to gain new insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe. In addition, they develop new applications in medicine and technology. The new Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research FAIR is currently being built in international cooperation. It is one of the largest research projects worldwide. Around 3,000 scientists from all over the world can conduct cutting-edge research at FAIR.

About the science and congress center "darmstadtium":

Whether for international conventions, meetings, product launches, annual general meetings or trade fairs, the Congress Centre Darmstadt provides excellent conditions for all kinds of events. Sustainability and the exceptional and awarded IT infrastructure make it Germany's fastest congress center with a 20Gbit/s redundant internet connection. It is situated in the heart of the city and has a direct connection to Frankfurt International Airport every 30 minutes.