TAN 19: International Superheavy Element Research Community met in Wilhelmshaven, Germany

The 6th international conference on the chemistry and physics of the transactinide elements (TAN 19) took place in Wilhelmshaven, Germany from 25-30 August 2019

Foto: GSI

NuPECC representative Prof. R.-D. Herzberg (left) and the conference chairs (right) with the young scientists showing their poster awards at TAN19 (Foto: S. Chenmarev).

About 130 researchers from 19 countries on 4 continents gathered to discuss all experimental and theoretical aspects of this multifaceted science field focusing on the heaviest elements. The scientists presented their most recent achievements investigating the atomic, chemical, and nuclear properties of these exotic elements at the end of the periodic table. The TAN 19 took place in  the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) 2019 proclaimed by the United Nations celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of this icon of the natural sciences by Dmitry Mendeleev in 1869. Until today, the periodic table was expanded to include 118 elements up to oganesson, which completes the periodic table’s seventh period.


On occasion of IYPT, the TAN 19 featured a special symposium. Key members of the teams that have discovered the chemical elements 107-118, including Prof. G. Münzenberg and Prof. P. Armbruster from the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, Darmstadt, Germany discoverers of elements 107 – 112 (bohrium, hassium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, roentgenium and copernicium), Dr. K. Morimoto from RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan, member of the discoverer team of element 113 (nihonium), and Prof. Yuri Oganessian from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, the leader of the discovery teams of elements 114-118 (flerovium, moscovium, livermorium, tennessine and oganesson) were among the distinguished participants.

This IYPT special symposium featured welcome addresses from the presidents of the International Unions for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) und for Physics (IUPAP), Prof. Zhou and Prof. Spiro, respectively, and their national counterparts from the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG) and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh), Prof. Meschede and Dr. Urmann, respectively.


Prof. G. Münzenberg, Dr. Morimoto and Prof. Oganessian reviewed their pioneering work on the element discovery experiments. Their presentations were complemented by talks from Prof. K. Ruthenberg (HS Coburg, Germany), Dr. P. Thyssen (KU Leuven, Belgium) and Prof. G. Boeck (Univ. Rostock, Germany) that illuminated historical and philosophical aspects of the Periodic Table. G. Boeck, for example, described the role of the German Chemist Lothar Meyer in the development of the periodic table. He was born in Varel, a small nearby town south of Wilhelmshaven. The present directors of the research centers where the elements 107-118 were discovered, Prof. P. Giubellino, Scientific Managing Director of GSI and the international facility FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research) that is presently under construction in Darmstadt, Prof. H. En’yo, director of the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Wako, Japan and Prof. S. Dmitriev, director of JINR’s Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, Dubna, Russia discussed the future research directions in superheavy element research in their laboratories.


The TAN conference series was established in 1999, when it took place in Seeheim, Germany. It was then held in the USA, Switzerland, Russia and Japan, and now returned back to Germany. The meeting was organized by the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, the Helmholtz Institute Mainz, and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, with Prof. Ch. Düllmann and Prof. M. Block as conference chairs. The scientific program comprised 51 oral presentations and 38 poster contributions. Six young scientists received awards sponsored by NuPECC and GDCh for their outstanding poster contributions.