IamA science journalist who's just traveled 36,000 miles to visit every lab that has discovered a new element since 1945. AMA!
My short bio: I'm a journalist for Chemistry World and am currently writing Superheavy, a book on how scientists are creating new elements in the lab, for Bloomsbury Sigma.
In the course of my research, I've visited every lab in the world that can claim to have discovered a new element, conferences on element discovery, and even sites where atomic bombs have been detonated. This includes Lawrence Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore national labs in California, Oak Ridge national lab in Tennessee, GSI Darmstadt in Germany, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia and RIKEN in Japan.
I've also met the biggest names in the field, including Yuri Oganessian (after whom element 118 is named), and I've asked them about everything from the competition between the USSR and US during the cold war, through to the practicalities of hitting a target smaller than an atom with a beam of ions traveling at 10% the speed of light.
AMA about how you make elements 93-118 or what science labs are like around the world.
Edit: Thanks for your questions! I'm going to have to take a break for a short while. I'll be back to answer more in an hour or so.
Edit 2: OK, back. Let the madness resume.
Edit 3: Hope that answered everything! I'm going to get my dinner now, but I'll try and do another AMA once the book's ready. Have a terrific weekend.