9 November 1994

The chemical element darmstadtium is discovered.

Darmstadtium

Darmstadtium, 110Ds
Darmstadtium
Pronunciation/dɑːrmˈstætiəm, -ˈʃtæt-/ (About this soundlisten)[1][2] (darm-S(H)TAT-ee-əm)
Mass number[281]
Darmstadtium in the periodic table
Hydrogen Helium
Lithium Beryllium Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Neon
Sodium Magnesium Aluminium Silicon Phosphorus Sulfur Chlorine Argon
Potassium Calcium Scandium Titanium Vanadium Chromium Manganese Iron Cobalt Nickel Copper Zinc Gallium Germanium Arsenic Selenium Bromine Krypton
Rubidium Strontium Yttrium Zirconium Niobium Molybdenum Technetium Ruthenium Rhodium Palladium Silver Cadmium Indium Tin Antimony Tellurium Iodine Xenon
Caesium Barium Lanthanum Cerium Praseodymium Neodymium Promethium Samarium Europium Gadolinium Terbium Dysprosium Holmium Erbium Thulium Ytterbium Lutetium Hafnium Tantalum Tungsten Rhenium Osmium Iridium Platinum Gold Mercury (element) Thallium Lead Bismuth Polonium Astatine Radon
Francium Radium Actinium Thorium Protactinium Uranium Neptunium Plutonium Americium Curium Berkelium Californium Einsteinium Fermium Mendelevium Nobelium Lawrencium Rutherfordium Dubnium Seaborgium Bohrium Hassium Meitnerium Darmstadtium Roentgenium Copernicium Nihonium Flerovium Moscovium Livermorium Tennessine Oganesson
Pt

Ds

(Uhq)
meitneriumdarmstadtiumroentgenium
Atomic number (Z)110
Groupgroup 10
Periodperiod 7
Blockd-block
Element category  Unknown chemical properties, but probably a transition metal
Electron configuration[Rn] 5f14 6d8 7s2 (predicted)[3]
Electrons per shell2, 8, 18, 32, 32, 16, 2 (predicted)[3]
Physical properties
Phase at STPsolid (predicted)[4]
Density (near r.t.)34.8 g/cm3 (predicted)[3]
Atomic properties
Oxidation states(0), (+2), (+4), (+6), (+8) (predicted)[3][5]
Ionization energies
  • 1st: 960 kJ/mol
  • 2nd: 1890 kJ/mol
  • 3rd: 3030 kJ/mol
  • (more) (all estimated)[3]
Atomic radiusempirical: 132 pm (predicted)[3][5]
Covalent radius128 pm (estimated)[6]
Other properties
Natural occurrencesynthetic
Crystal structurebody-centered cubic (bcc)
Body-centered cubic crystal structure for darmstadtium

(predicted)[4]
CAS Number54083-77-1
History
Namingafter Darmstadt, Germany, where it was discovered
DiscoveryGesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (1994)
Main isotopes of darmstadtium
Iso­tope Abun­dance Half-life (t1/2) Decay mode Pro­duct
279Ds syn 0.2 s 10% α 275Hs
90% SF
281Ds syn 14 s 94% SF
6% α 277Hs
Category Category: Darmstadtium
| references

Darmstadtium is a chemical element with the symbol Ds and atomic number 110. It is an extremely radioactive synthetic element. The most stable known isotope, darmstadtium-281, has a half-life of approximately 12.7 seconds. Darmstadtium was first created in 1994 by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research near the city of Darmstadt, Germany, after which it was named.

In the periodic table, it is a d-block transactinide element. It is a member of the 7th period and is placed in the group 10 elements, although no chemical experiments have yet been carried out to confirm that it behaves as the heavier homologue to platinum in group 10 as the eighth member of the 6d series of transition metals. Darmstadtium is calculated to have similar properties to its lighter homologues, nickel, palladium, and platinum.

History

The city center of Darmstadt, the namesake of darmstadtium

Discovery

Darmstadtium was first created on November 9, 1994, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research (Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung, GSI) in Darmstadt, Germany, by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg, under the direction of Sigurd Hofmann. The team bombarded a lead-208 target with accelerated nuclei of nickel-62 in a heavy ion accelerator and detected a single atom of the isotope darmstadtium-269:[7]

208
82
Pb + 62
28
Ni → 269
110
Ds + 1
0
n

In the same series of experiments, the same team also carried out the reaction using heavier nickel-64 ions. During two runs, 9 atoms of 271Ds were convincingly detected by correlation with known daughter decay properties:[8]

208
82
Pb + 64
28
Ni → 271
110
Ds + 1
0
n

Prior to this, there had been failed synthesis attempts in 1986–87 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna (then in the Soviet Union) and in 1990 at the GSI. A 1995 attempt at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory resulted in signs suggesting but not pointing conclusively at the discovery of a new isotope 267Ds formed in the bombardment of 209Bi with 59Co, and a similarly inconclusive 1994 attempt at the JINR showed signs of 273Ds being produced from 244Pu and 34S. Each team proposed its own name for element 110: the American team proposed hahnium after Otto Hahn in an attempt to resolve the situation on element 105 (which they had long been suggesting this name for), the Russian team proposed becquerelium after Henri Becquerel, and the German team proposed darmstadtium after Darmstadt, the location of their institute.[9] The IUPAC/IUPAP Joint Working Party (JWP) recognised the GSI team as discoverers in their 2001 report, giving them the right to suggest a name for the element.[10]

Naming

Using Mendeleev's nomenclature for unnamed and undiscovered elements, darmstadtium should be known as eka-platinum. In 1979, IUPAC published recommendations according to which the element was to be called ununnilium (with the corresponding symbol of Uun),[11] a systematic element name as a placeholder, until the element was discovered (and the discovery then confirmed) and a permanent name was decided on. Although widely used in the chemical community on all levels, from chemistry classrooms to advanced textbooks, the recommendations were mostly ignored among scientists in the field, who called it "element 110", with the symbol of E110, (110) or even simply 110.[3]

In 1996, the Russian team proposed the name becquerelium after Henri Becquerel.[12] The American team in 1997 proposed the name hahnium[13] after Otto Hahn (previously this name had been used for element 105).

The name darmstadtium (Ds) was suggested by the GSI team in honor of the city of Darmstadt, where the element was discovered.[14][15] The GSI team originally also considered naming the element wixhausium, after the suburb of Darmstadt known as Wixhausen where the element was discovered, but eventually decided on darmstadtium.[16] Policium had also been proposed as a joke due to the emergency telephone number in Germany being 1-1-0. The new name darmstadtium was officially recommended by IUPAC on August 16, 2003.[14]

Isotopes

List of darmstadtium isotopes
Isotope Half-life[a] Decay
mode
Discovery
year[17]
Discovery
reaction[18]
Value Ref
267Ds[b] 10 µs [17] α 1994 209Bi(59Co,n)
269Ds 230 µs [17] α 1994 208Pb(62Ni,n)
270Ds 205 µs [17] α 2000 207Pb(64Ni,n)
270mDs 10 ms [17] α 2000 207Pb(64Ni,n)
271Ds 90 ms [17] α 1994 208Pb(64Ni,n)
271mDs 1.7 ms [17] α 1994 208Pb(64Ni,n)
273Ds 240 µs [17] α 1996 244Pu(34S,5n)[19]
277Ds 3.5 ms [20] α 2010 285Fl(—,2α)
279Ds 0.21 s [21] SF, α 2003 287Fl(—,2α)
280Ds[22][b] 6.7 ms [23][24] SF 2014 292Lv(—,3α)
281Ds 12.7 s [21] SF, α 2004 289Fl(—,2α)
281mDs[b] 0.9 s [17] α 2012 293mLv(—,3α)

Darmstadtium has no stable or naturally occurring isotopes. Several radioactive isotopes have been synthesized in the laboratory, either by fusing two atoms or by observing the decay of heavier elements. Nine different isotopes of darmstadtium have been reported with atomic masses 267, 269–271, 273, 277, and 279–281, although darmstadtium-267 and darmstadtium-280 are unconfirmed. Three darmstadtium isotopes, darmstadtium-270, darmstadtium-271, and darmstadtium-281, have known metastable states, although that of darmstadtium-281 is unconfirmed.[25] Most of these decay predominantly through alpha decay, but some undergo spontaneous fission.[26]

Stability and half-lives

All darmstadtium isotopes are extremely unstable and radioactive; in general, the heavier isotopes are more stable than the lighter. The most stable known darmstadtium isotope, 281Ds, is also the heaviest known darmstadtium isotope; it has a half-life of 12.7 seconds. The isotope 279Ds has a half-life of 0.18 seconds, while the unconfirmed 281mDs has a half-life of 0.9 seconds. The remaining seven isotopes and two metastable states have half-lives between 1 microsecond and 70 milliseconds.[26] Some unknown darmstadtium isotopes may have longer half-lives, however.[27]

Theoretical calculation in a quantum tunneling model reproduces the experimental alpha decay half-life data for the known darmstadtium isotopes.[28][29] It also predicts that the undiscovered isotope 294Ds, which has a magic number of neutrons (184),[3] would have an alpha decay half-life on the order of 311 years; exactly the same approach predicts a ~3500-year alpha half-life for the non-magic 293Ds isotope, however.[27][30]

Predicted properties

No properties of darmstadtium or its compounds have been measured; this is due to its extremely limited and expensive production[31] and the fact that darmstadtium (and its parents) decays very quickly. Properties of darmstadtium metal remain unknown and only predictions are available.

Chemical

Darmstadtium is the eighth member of the 6d series of transition metals. Since copernicium (element 112) has been shown to be a group 12 metal, it is expected that all the elements from 104 to 111 would continue a fourth transition metal series, with darmstadtium as part of the platinum group metals.[15] Calculations on its ionization potentials and atomic and ionic radii are similar to that of its lighter homologue platinum, thus implying that darmstadtium's basic properties will resemble those of the other group 10 elements, nickel, palladium, and platinum.[3]

Prediction of the probable chemical properties of darmstadtium has not received much attention recently. Darmstadtium should be the third-most noble metal in the periodic table, even more noble than gold, with a predicted standard reduction potential of 1.7 V for the Ds2+/Ds couple, greater than the value of 1.5 V for the Au3+/Au couple; only roentgenium and copernicium are expected to be more noble than darmstadtium.[3] Based on the most stable oxidation states of the lighter group 10 elements, the most stable oxidation states of darmstadtium are predicted to be the +6, +4, and +2 states; however, the neutral state is predicted to be the most stable in aqueous solutions. In comparison, only palladium and platinum are known to show the maximum oxidation state in the group, +6, while the most stable states are +4 and +2 for both nickel and palladium. It is further expected that the maximum oxidation states of elements from bohrium (element 107) to darmstadtium (element 110) may be stable in the gas phase but not in aqueous solution.[3] Darmstadtium hexafluoride (DsF6) is predicted to have very similar properties to its lighter homologue platinum hexafluoride (PtF6), having very similar electronic structures and ionization potentials.[3][32][33] It is also expected to have the same octahedral molecular geometry as PtF6.[34] Other predicted darmstadtium compounds are darmstadtium carbide (DsC) and darmstadtium tetrachloride (DsCl4), both of which are expected to behave like their lighter homologues.[34] Unlike platinum, which preferentially forms a cyanide complex in its +2 oxidation state, Pt(CN)2, darmstadtium is expected to preferentially remain in its neutral state and form Ds(CN)2−
2
instead, forming a strong Ds–C bond with some multiple bond character.[35]

Physical and atomic

Darmstadtium is expected to be a solid under normal conditions and to crystallize in the body-centered cubic structure, unlike its lighter congeners which crystallize in the face-centered cubic structure, because it is expected to have different electron charge densities from them.[4] It should be a very heavy metal with a density of around 34.8 g/cm3. In comparison, the densest known element that has had its density measured, osmium, has a density of only 22.61 g/cm3.[3] This results from darmstadtium's high atomic weight, the lanthanide and actinide contractions, and relativistic effects, although production of enough darmstadtium to measure this quantity would be impractical, and the sample would quickly decay.[3]

The outer electron configuration of darmstadtium is calculated to be 6d8 7s2, which obeys the Aufbau principle and does not follow platinum's outer electron configuration of 5d9 6s1. This is due to the relativistic stabilization of the 7s2 electron pair over the whole seventh period, so that none of the elements from 104 to 112 are expected to have electron configurations violating the Aufbau principle. The atomic radius of darmstadtium is expected to be around 132 pm.[3]

Experimental chemistry

Unambiguous determination of the chemical characteristics of darmstadtium has yet to have been established[36] due to the short half-lives of darmstadtium isotopes and a limited number of likely volatile compounds that could be studied on a very small scale. One of the few darmstadtium compounds that are likely to be sufficiently volatile is darmstadtium hexafluoride (DsF
6
), as its lighter homologue platinum hexafluoride (PtF
6
) is volatile above 60 °C and therefore the analogous compound of darmstadtium might also be sufficiently volatile;[15] a volatile octafluoride (DsF
8
) might also be possible.[3] For chemical studies to be carried out on a transactinide, at least four atoms must be produced, the half-life of the isotope used must be at least 1 second, and the rate of production must be at least one atom per week.[15] Even though the half-life of 281Ds, the most stable confirmed darmstadtium isotope, is 12.7 seconds, long enough to perform chemical studies, another obstacle is the need to increase the rate of production of darmstadtium isotopes and allow experiments to carry on for weeks or months so that statistically significant results can be obtained. Separation and detection must be carried out continuously to separate out the darmstadtium isotopes and have automated systems experiment on the gas-phase and solution chemistry of darmstadtium, as the yields for heavier elements are predicted to be smaller than those for lighter elements; some of the separation techniques used for bohrium and hassium could be reused. However, the experimental chemistry of darmstadtium has not received as much attention as that of the heavier elements from copernicium to livermorium.[3][36][37]

The more neutron-rich darmstadtium isotopes are the most stable[26] and are thus more promising for chemical studies.[3][15] However, they can only be produced indirectly from the alpha decay of heavier elements,[38][39][40] and indirect synthesis methods are not as favourable for chemical studies as direct synthesis methods.[3] The more neutron-rich isotopes 276Ds and 277Ds might be produced directly in the reaction between thorium-232 and calcium-48, but the yield is expected to be low.[3][41][42] Furthermore, this reaction has already been tested without success,[41] and more recent experiments that have successfully synthesized 277Ds using indirect methods show that it has a short half-life of 3.5 ms, not long enough to perform chemical studies.[20][39] The only known darmstadtium isotope with a half-life long enough for chemical research is 281Ds, which would have to be produced as the granddaughter of 289Fl.[43]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Different sources give different values for half-lives; the most recently published values are listed.
  2. ^ a b c This isotope is unconfirmed

References

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  42. ^ Feng, Z; Jin, G.; Li, J.; Scheid, W. (2009). "Production of heavy and superheavy nuclei in massive fusion reactions". Nuclear Physics A. 816 (1): 33. arXiv:0803.1117. Bibcode:2009NuPhA.816...33F. doi:10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2008.11.003.
  43. ^ Moody, Ken (November 30, 2013). "Synthesis of Superheavy Elements". In Schädel, Matthias; Shaughnessy, Dawn (eds.). The Chemistry of Superheavy Elements (2nd ed.). Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 24–8. ISBN 9783642374661.

External links

17 October 1994

Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov is assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces.

Dmitry Kholodov

Dmitry Kholodov
Dmitry Kholodov.jpg
Dmitry Kholodov, journalist
Born
Dmitry Yuryevich Kholodov

(1967-06-21)21 June 1967
Died17 October 1994(1994-10-17) (aged 27)
EducationMoscow Engineering Physics Institute
OccupationJournalist

Dmitry Yuryevich Kholodov (Russian: Дми́трий Ю́рьевич Хо́лодов; 21 July 1967 – 17 October 1994) was a Russian journalist who investigated corruption in the military and was assassinated on 17 October 1994 in Moscow. His assassination was the first of many killings of journalists in Russia.[1]

Early life and education

Kholodov was born in Zagorsk (now Sergiyev Posad) on 21 June 1967. He studied physics.

Career

Kholodov began his working life alongside his parents at the defence industry institute in Klimovsk in the Moscow Region. Faced by limited career prospects he turned to journalism, first working for the local radio. In 1992, he became a reporter with the national Moskovsky Komsomolets daily newspaper.[2]

In 1993, Kholodov travelled to hotspots around the former Soviet Union, reporting for Moskovsky Komsomolets. In particular, he was in Abkhazia during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict and, as he witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, sent many detailed reports, including one entitled "Sukhumi apocalypse".

In October 1993 Kholodov interviewed Defence Minister Pavel Grachev. For the next twelve months, on the basis of leaks from army and Ministry of Defence sources, he wrote and published numerous articles about high-level corruption in the military, especially concerning the misuse of funds intended to ease the withdrawal and resettlement of half a million former Soviet troops and their families who had been based in East Germany. Kholodov was due to speak at Duma hearings into these allegations, which supposedly reached as high as the Defence Minister himself, when he was murdered.[3] None of the allegations were ever tested in court. Grachev was replaced as Defence Minister in 1996 after the end of the First Chechen War.

Assassination

Kholodov died on 17 October 1994 when he opened a booby-trapped briefcase in his newspaper's offices. He had picked up the case that morning from the left-luggage section at a Moscow train station after being told it contained documents exposing corruption in the armed forces. The editors of Kholodov's daily, Moskovsky Komsomolets, accused the Russian military leadership (Defence Minister Grachev in particular) of ordering the killing. The military denied involvement. Speaking as a witness in court some six years later, Pavel Grachev claimed that "some of my subordinates misunderstood my words".[4]

Local and foreign correspondents had already died in Moscow and elsewhere in the country (see List of journalists killed in Russia), but this was the first indisputable targeting of a journalist for his work.[citation needed] Kholodov's murder sent shockwaves through Russia's media community. Reaction abroad was muted, apart from professional media monitors and human rights organisations, and after December 1994 his killing was overshadowed by the onset of the First Chechen War. Kholodov's violent death personalized the risk faced by reporters in Russia, and the long drawn-out investigation and subsequent failure to convict the suspects had a chilling effect on investigative journalism in the country's newly free media.

The case remains unique. With one exception (Oleg Sedinko in 2002), explosives have never again been used to kill a journalist in Russia; and unlike the ongoing spate of contract killings no evidence was presented in court that money had been paid to Kholodov's alleged killers. They were acting, apparently, to avoid the displeasure of their superiors and to advance their careers.

Trial and acquittal

The trial of six defendants, four of them serving military officers, began in 2000 at the Moscow District Military Court (see Russian courts). They were acquitted in 2002 and again, after a second trial, in 2004. On both occasions the Prosecutor General's Office protested against the verdict to the Russian Supreme Court.[5]

Kholodov's elderly parents and their lawyers alleged improprieties in the conduct of the trial and the behaviour of the different judges presiding over the two trials (the second of whom, Yevgeny Zubov, would be in charge of the trial of Anna Politkovskaya's alleged killers).[6] An attempt was made to have a complaint about the lack of a fair trial examined before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It was rejected on the grounds that the murder preceded Russia's full accession to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in 1998. By 2004 the killing was also technically beyond the statute of limitation for murder laid down in Russia's 1960 Criminal Code. Speaking in Germany in 2008, however, President Dmitry Medvedev said that the killings of certain journalists were of such importance that there should be no time limit for the prosecution of those responsible.[7] Kholodov's case was still unsolved as of 2009.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Journalist murder still unsolved 15 years on". RT. 17 October 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
  2. ^ Yekaterina Deyeva, "Dima", Moskovsky komsomolets, 3 July 2002 cited in CJES bulletin.
  3. ^ See Kholodov case study in PARTIAL JUSTICE: An inquiry into the deaths of journalists in Russia Archived 10 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, June 2009.
  4. ^ Closing speech of lead prosecutor Irina Alyoshina Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian).
  5. ^ Closing speech, Irina Alyoshina Archived 9 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian).
  6. ^ 24 November 2008, Novaya gazeta Archived 7 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Reports on the first week of the Politkovskaya trial (in English).
  7. ^ See report (in Russian) by Nina Ognianova, Committee to Protect Journalists.

External links

28 September 1994

The cruise ferry MS Estonia sinks in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

MS Estonia

MS Estonia model.jpg
Scale model of MS Estonia
History
Name:
  • 1980–1990: Viking Sally
  • 1990–1991: Silja Star
  • 1991–1993: Wasa King
  • 1993–1994: Estonia
Owner:
Operator:
Port of registry:
Ordered: 1979-09-11
Builder: Meyer Werft, Papenburg, West Germany
Yard number: 590
Laid down: 18 October 1979
Launched: 26 April 1980
Acquired: 29 June 1980
In service: 5 July 1980
Identification:
Fate: Capsized and sank on 28 September 1994
General characteristics
Type: Ro Ro Passenger Cruise
Tonnage:
Length:
  • 155.43 m (509 ft 11 in) (as built)
  • 157.02 m (515.16 ft) (1984 onwards)
Beam: 24.21 m (79 ft 5 in)
Draught: 5.60 m (18 ft 4 in)
Decks: 9
Ice class: 1A
Installed power:
  • 4 × MAN 8L40/45
  • 17,625 kW (23,636 hp) (combined)
Speed: 21.1 knots (39.1 km/h; 24.3 mph)
Capacity:
  • 2,000 passengers
  • 1,190 passenger berths
  • 460 cars

MS Estonia was a cruise ferry built in 1979/80 at the German shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg. The ship sank in 1994 in the Baltic Sea in one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century.[2][3] It is the second-deadliest peacetime sinking of a European ship, after the RMS Titanic, and the deadliest peacetime shipwreck to have occurred in European waters, with 852 lives lost.[4]

Coordinates: 59°23′0″N 21°40′0″E / 59.38333°N 21.66667°E / 59.38333; 21.66667

Construction

The ship was originally ordered from Meyer Werft by a Norwegian shipping company led by with intended traffic between Norway and Germany. At the last moment, the company withdrew their order and the contract went to Rederi Ab Sally, one of the partners in the Viking Line consortium (SF Line, another partner in Viking Line, had also been interested in the ship).[5]

Originally the ship was conceived as a sister ship to Diana II, built in 1979 by the same shipyard for Rederi AB Slite, the third partner in Viking Line. When Sally took over the construction contract, the ship was lengthened from the original length of approximately 137 metres (449 ft) to approximately 155 metres (509 ft) and the superstructure of the ship was largely redesigned.[5]

Meyer Werft had constructed a large number of ships for various Viking Line partner companies during the 1970s. The construction of the ship's bow consisted of an upwards-opening visor and a car ramp that was placed inside the visor when it was closed. An identical bow construction had also been used in Diana II.[JAIC 1]

Service history

Estonia previously sailed as Viking Sally (1980–1990), Silja Star (1990–1991), and Wasa King (1991–1993).

Viking Line

As MS Viking Sally

On 29 June 1980 Viking Sally was delivered to Rederi Ab Sally, Finland and was put into service on the route between Turku, Mariehamn and Stockholm[5][6] (during summer 1982 on the Naantali–Mariehamn–Kapellskär route).[7] She was the largest ship to serve on that route at the time. As with many ships, Viking Sally suffered some mishaps during her Viking Line service, being grounded in the Åland Archipelago in May 1984 and suffering some propeller problems in April of the following year. In 1985 she was also rebuilt with a "duck tail".[5][6] Rederi Ab Sally had been experiencing financial difficulties for most of the 1980s. In late 1987, Effoa and Johnson Line, the owners of Viking Line's main rivals Silja Line, bought Sally.[8] As a result of this, SF Line and Rederi AB Slite forced Sally to withdraw from Viking Line.[5][6][8] Viking Sally was chartered to Rederi AB Slite to continue on her current traffic for the next three years.[5][6][8]

EffJohn

When her charter ended in April 1990, Viking Sally had an unusual change of service. She was painted in Silja Line's colours, renamed Silja Star and placed on the same route that she had plied for Viking Line: Turku–Mariehamn–Stockholm.[5][6] The reason for this was that Silja's new ship for Helsinki–Stockholm service was built behind schedule and one of the Turku–Stockholm ships, Wellamo, was transferred to that route until the new ship was complete in November 1990.[9] Also in 1990 Effoa, Johnson Line and Rederi Ab Sally merged into .

The following spring Silja Star began her service with Wasa Line, another company owned by EffJohn. Her name was changed to Wasa King and she served on routes connecting Vaasa, Finland to Umeå and Sundsvall in Sweden.[5][6] It has been reported that the Wasa King was widely considered to be the best behaving ship in rough weather to have sailed from Vaasa.

Estline

Model of Estonia from Swedish Maritime Museum

In January 1993, at the same time when EffJohn decided to merge Wasa Line's operations into Silja Line, Wasa King was sold to for use on EstLine's Tallinn–Stockholm traffic under the name Estonia. The actual ownership of the ship was rather complex, in order for Nordstöm & Thulin to get a loan to buy the ship. Although Nordström & Thulin were the company who bought the ship, her registered owners were Estline Marine Co Ltd, Nicosia, Cyprus, who chartered the ship to E.Liini A/S, Tallinn, Estonia (daughter company of Nordström & Thulin and ESCO) who in turn chartered the ship to EstLine Ab. As a result, the ship was actually registered in both Cyprus and Estonia.[5][6]

As the largest Estonian-owned ship of the time, the Estonia symbolized the independence that Estonia regained after the collapse of the Soviet Union.[10]

Sinking

Nationality of the victims[11] Deaths
 Sweden 501
 Estonia 285
 Latvia 17
 Russia 11
 Finland 10
 Norway 6
 Denmark 5
 Germany 5
 Lithuania 3
 Morocco 2
 Belarus 1
 Canada 1
 France 1
 Netherlands 1
 Nigeria 1
 Ukraine 1
 United Kingdom 1
Total fatalities 852
One of Estonia's inflatable life rafts, filled with water.

The Estonia disaster occurred on Wednesday, 28 September 1994, between about 00:55 and 01:50 (UTC+2) as the ship was crossing the Baltic Sea, en route from Tallinn, Estonia, to Stockholm, Sweden. Estonia was on a scheduled crossing with departure at 18:30 on 27 September. She had been expected in Stockholm the next morning at about 09:30. She was carrying 989 people: 803 passengers and 186 crew.[12][JAIC 2] Most of the passengers were Swedish, although some were of Estonian origin, while most of the crew members were Estonian. The ship was fully loaded, and was listing slightly to starboard because of poor cargo distribution.[13]

According to the final disaster report, the weather was rough, with a wind of 15 to 20 metres per second (29 to 39 kn; 34 to 45 mph), force 7–8 on the Beaufort scale and a significant wave height of 4 to 6 metres (13 to 20 ft)[JAIC 3] compared with the highest measured significant wave height in the Baltic Sea of 7.7 metres (25.3 ft).[14] , the captain of Silja Europa who was appointed on-scene commander for the subsequent rescue effort, described the weather as "normally bad", or like a typical autumn storm in the Baltic Sea. All scheduled passenger ferries were at sea. The official report says that while the exact speed at the time of the accident is not known, Estonia had very regular voyage times, averaging 16 to 17 knots (30 to 31 km/h; 18 to 20 mph). The chief mate of the Viking Line cruiseferry Mariella tracked Estonia's speed by radar at approximately 14.2 knots (26.3 km/h; 16.3 mph) before the first signs of distress, while the Silja Europa's officers estimated her speed at 14 to 15 knots (26 to 28 km/h; 16 to 17 mph) at midnight.

The first sign of trouble aboard Estonia was when a metallic bang was heard, caused by a heavy wave hitting the bow doors around 01:00, when the ship was on the outskirts of the Turku archipelago, but an inspection—limited to checking the indicator lights for the ramp and visor—showed no problems.[13] Over the next 10 minutes, similar noises were reported by passengers and other crew.[13] At about 01:15, the visor separated in which the ship's bow door opened, and the ship immediately took on a heavy starboard list (initially around 15 degrees, but by 01:30, the ship had rolled 60 degrees and by 1:50 the list was 90 degrees) as water flooded into the vehicle deck.[13] Estonia was turned to port and slowed before her four engines cut out completely.[13]

At about 01:20, a quiet female voice called "Häire, häire, laeval on häire", Estonian for "Alarm, alarm, there is alarm on the ship", over the public address system, which was followed immediately by an internal alarm for the crew, then one minute later by the general lifeboat alarm. The vessel's rapid list and the flooding prevented many people in the cabins from ascending to the boat deck, as water not only flooded the vessel via the car deck, but also through windows in cabins as well as the massive windows along deck 6. The windows gave way to the powerful waves as the ship listed and the sea reached the upper decks. Survivors reported that water flowed down from ceiling panels, stairwells and along corridors from decks that were not yet under water. This contributed to the rapid sinking.[13] A Mayday was communicated by the ship's crew at 01:22, but did not follow international formats. Estonia directed a call to Silja Europa and only after making contact with her did the radio operator utter the word "Mayday". The radio operator on Silja Europa, chief mate Teijo Seppelin, replied in English: "Estonia, are you calling mayday?" After that, the voice of third mate Andres Tammes took over on Estonia and the conversation shifted to Finnish.[15] Tammes was able to provide some details about their situation but, due to a loss of power, he could not give their position, which delayed rescue operations somewhat. Some minutes later, power returned (or somebody on the bridge managed to lower himself to the starboard side of the bridge to check the marine GPS, which will display the ship's position even in blackout conditions), and the Estonia was able to radio its position to Silja Europa and Mariella. The ship disappeared from the radar screens of other ships at around 01:50,[13] and sank at 59°23′N 21°42′E / 59.383°N 21.700°E / 59.383; 21.700 in international waters, about 22 nautical miles (41 km; 25 mi) on bearing 157° from Utö island, Finland, to the depth of 74 to 85 metres (243 to 279 ft) of water. According to survivor accounts, the ship sank stern first after taking a list of 90 degrees.

Rescue effort

Search and rescue followed arrangements set up under the 1979 International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (the SAR Convention), and the nearest Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre MRCC Turku coordinated the effort in accordance with Finland's plans. The Baltic is one of the world's busiest shipping areas, with 2,000 vessels at sea at any time, and these plans assumed the ship's own boats and nearby ferries would provide immediate help and that helicopters could be airborne after an hour. This scheme had worked for the relatively small number of accidents involving sinkings, particularly as most ships have few people on board.[16]

Super Puma OH-HVG of the Finnish Border Guard flying.

Mariella, the first of five ferries to reach the scene of the accident, arrived at 02:12.[2] MRCC Turku failed to acknowledge the Mayday immediately and Mariella's report was relayed by Helsinki Radio as the less urgent pan-pan message. A full-scale emergency was only declared at 02:30. Mariella winched open liferafts into the sea onto which 13 people on Estonia's rafts successfully transferred, and reported the location of other rafts to Swedish and Finnish rescue helicopters, the first of which arrived at 03:05. The former took survivors to shore, while the latter—Finnish border guard helicopters Super Puma OH-HVG and Agusta Bell 412 OH-HVD—chose the riskier option of landing on the ferries. The pilot of OH-HVG stated that landing on the ferries was the most difficult part of the whole rescue operation; despite that, this single helicopter rescued 44 people, more than all the ferries. Isabella saved 16 survivors with her rescue slide.

Of the 989 on board, 138 were rescued alive, one of whom died later in hospital.[2] Ships rescued 34 and helicopters 104; the ferries played a much smaller part than the planners had intended because it was too dangerous to launch their man-overboard (MOB) boats or lifeboats. The accident claimed 852 lives. Most died by drowning and hypothermia, as the water temperature was 10–11 °C/50–52 °F. One of the victims of the sinking was the Estonian singer Urmas Alender. In total 94 bodies were recovered: 93 within 33 days of the accident, the last 18 months later.[2] By the time the rescue helicopters arrived, around a third of those who escaped from the Estonia had died of hypothermia, while fewer than half of those who had managed to leave the ship were eventually rescued.[2] The survivors of the shipwreck were mostly young, of strong constitution, and male. Seven over 55 years of age survived; there were no survivors under age 12. About 650 people were still inside the ship when it sank, and are believed to remain there.[JAIC 2] The commission estimated that up to 310 passengers reached the outer decks, 160 of whom boarded the liferafts or lifeboats essential for survival.[17]

Causes of the disaster

The disaster had a major impact on ferry safety, leading to changes in safety regulations as well as in liferaft design,[18] much as the Titanic disaster did in 1912.

Official investigation and report

The wreck was examined and videotaped by remotely operated underwater vehicles and by divers from a Norwegian company, Rockwater A/S, contracted for the investigation work.[JAIC 4] The official report indicated that the locks on the bow door had failed from the strain of the waves and the door had separated from the rest of the vessel, pulling the ramp behind it ajar.[JAIC 5] The bow visor and ramp had been torn off at points that would not trigger an "open" or "unlatched" warning on the bridge, as is the case in normal operation or failure of the latches. The bridge was also situated too far back on the ferry for the visor to be seen from there.[JAIC 6] While there was video monitoring of the inner ramp, the monitor on the bridge was not visible from the conning station.[JAIC 7] The bow visor was under-designed, as manufacturing and approval process did not consider the visor and its attachments as critical items regarding ship safety.[19] The first metallic bang was believed to have been the sound of the visor's lower locking mechanism failing, and subsequent noises were the visor 'flapping' against the hull as the other locks failed, before tearing free and exposing the bow ramp.[20] The subsequent failure of the bow ramp allowed water into the vehicle deck, which was identified as the main cause of the capsizing and sinking:[19] RORO ferries with their wide vehicle decks are particularly vulnerable to capsizing if the car deck is even slightly flooded because of free surface effect: the fluid's swirling motion across such a large area hampers the boat's ability to right itself after rolling with a wave. The same effect caused the capsizing of MS Herald of Free Enterprise seven years earlier.

The report was critical of the crew's actions, particularly for failing to reduce speed before investigating the noises emanating from the bow, and for being unaware that the list was being caused by water entering the vehicle deck.[21] There were also general criticisms of the delays in sounding the alarm, the passivity of the crew, and the lack of guidance from the bridge.

Recommendations for modifications to be applied to similar ships included separation of the condition sensors from the latch and hinge mechanisms.[JAIC 8]

Changes stemming from the disaster

In 1999, special training requirements in crowd and crisis management and human behaviour were extended to crew on all passenger ships, and amendments were made to watch-keeping standards.[22] Estonia's distress beacons or EPIRBs required manual activation, which did not happen. Had they been activated automatically, it would have been immediately obvious that the ship had sunk and the location would have been clear. All EPIRBs were subsequently required to deploy automatically and the accident was "instrumental in the move to legislate Voyage Data Recorders".[23] New International Maritime Organization (IMO) Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) liferaft regulations for rescue from listing ships in rough water were introduced, though launching such craft, even in training exercises, remains dangerous for the crew.[24]

New designs, the "citadel concept" once again influenced by Estonia, aim to ensure damaged ships have sufficient buoyancy to remain afloat, though cost will determine if any are built. SOLAS 90, which came into effect in 2010, specifies existing passenger ships' stability requirements and those in North West Europe must also be able to survive 50 centimetres (20 in) of water on the car deck.[25]

Allegations of military connection

Alternative theories exist about the cause of the sinking. German journalist Jutta Rabe and the left-wing magazine New Statesman claim that laboratory tests on debris recovered illegally from Estonia's bow yielded trace evidence of a deliberate explosion, which they allege was concealed by the Swedish, British, and Russian governments to cover up an intelligence operation smuggling military hardware via the civilian ferry.[26] Members of the Joint Accident Investigation Commission denied these claims, saying that the damage seen on the debris occurred during the visor's detachment from the vessel. The JAIC cited results from Germany's Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, which found that Jutta Rabe's samples did not prove an explosion occurred.[27]

In the autumn of 2004, a former Swedish customs officer claimed on Sveriges Television that Estonia had been used to transport military equipment in September 1994.[28] The Swedish and Estonian governments subsequently launched separate investigations, which both confirmed that non-explosive military equipment was aboard the ship on 14 and 20 September 1994. According to the Swedish Ministry of Defence, no such equipment was on board on the day of the disaster, and previous investigations by the Swedish Customs Service found no reports of any anomalous activity around the day of the disaster.[29][30]

Protection of the wreck

Estonia memorial in Tallinn
Estonia memorial in Stockholm

In the aftermath of the disaster, many relatives of the deceased demanded that their loved ones be raised from international waters and given a land burial. Demands were also made that the entire ship be raised so that the cause of the disaster could be discovered by detailed inspection.[31][32] Citing the practical difficulties and the moral implications of raising decaying bodies from the sea floor (the majority of the bodies were never recovered), and fearing the financial burden of lifting the entire hull to the surface and the salvage operation, the Swedish government suggested burying the whole ship in situ with a shell of concrete.[33][34] As a preliminary step, thousands of tons of pebbles were dropped on the site.[32] The Estonia Agreement 1995, a treaty among Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Denmark, Russia and the United Kingdom, declared sanctity over the site, prohibiting their citizens from even approaching the wreck.[35] The treaty is, however, only binding for citizens of the countries that are signatories. At least twice, the Swedish Navy has discovered diving operations at the wreck. The wreck is monitored by radar by the Finnish Navy.[36]

Decks and facilities

As Viking Sally

9 Bridge, sundeck[37]
8 Sundeck[37]
7 Crew cabins & facilities, sundeck[38]
6 Restaurant deckBuffet dining room, à la carte restaurant, bar, outside and inside cabins[39]
5 Entrance & cafeteria deckTax-free shops, cafeteria, snack bar, discotheque, air seats, children's playroom, outside and inside cabins[37][40]
4 Conference deck – Conference rooms, nightclub, cinema, inside and outside cabins[40]
3 Car platform[41]
2 Car deck[41]
1 Inside cabins,[39] engine room[38]
0 Sauna, swimming pool, conference rooms[39]

Media

The sinking of the Estonia has been the subject of a number of documentaries in addition to the feature film Baltic Storm, including:

  • History Channel: Sinking of the Estonia
  • Zero Hour: The Sinking of the Estonia (2006)
  • Built from Disaster: Ships (2009)[42]

In addition, the disaster has inspired several musical works:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Final report on the capsizing on 28 September 1994 in the Baltic Sea of the Ro-Ro passenger vessel MN Estonia, Chapter 3: The vessel. The Joint Accident Investigation Commission of Estonia, Finland and Sweden, December 1997.
  2. ^ a b c d e Soomer, H.; Ranta, H.; Penttilä, A. (2001). "Identification of victims from the M/S Estonia". International Journal of Legal Medicine. 114 (4–5): 259–262. doi:10.1007/s004140000180. PMID 11355406.
  3. ^ Boesten, E. (2006): The M/S Estonia Disaster and the Treatment of Human Remains. In: Bierens, J.J.L.M. (ed.): Handbook on Drowning: 650–652. ISBN 978-3-540-43973-8.
  4. ^ "Estonia shipwreck investigator and nautical linguist Captain Uno Laur dies". ERR. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Wasa King" (in Swedish). Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "M/S Viking Sally" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  7. ^ "Viking Sally schedules 1980–1990" (in Finnish). FCBS Forum. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "Simplon Postcards: Viking Sally – Wasa King – Silja Star – Estonia". Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  9. ^ "MS Wellamo (1986)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  10. ^ "Final report on the MV ESTONIA disaster of 28 September 1994". onse.fi. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  11. ^ Whittingham, The Blame Machine, p. 137
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Whittingham, The Blame Machine, p. 138
  13. ^ "Wave height records in the Baltic Sea". Finnish Meteorological Institute. Archived from the original on 30 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Estonia final report. 2.1 The Distress Communication". estoniaferrydisaster.net. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  15. ^ HELCOM reports a noticeable drop in shipping accidents in the Baltic Archived 27 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 October 2007
  16. ^ "Improving passenger ship safety" (PDF). Directorate-General for Transport and Energy (European Commission). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 February 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2007.
  17. ^ Joughin, R.W. "The Revised SOLAS Regulations for Ro-Ro Ferries". Warsah Maritime Centre. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2008.
  18. ^ a b Whittingham, The Blame Machine, p. 139
  19. ^ Whittingham, The Blame Machine, pp. 139–40
  20. ^ Whittingham, The Blame Machine, p. 142
  21. ^ "Passenger information required on all passenger ships from 1 January 1999". International Maritime Organization. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 21 October 2007.
  22. ^ Simplified Voyage Data Recorders -Why choose float free Archived 12 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 22 October 2007
  23. ^ Liferaft Systems Australia: Maib Interim Safety Recommendation on The Use of Vertical Chute Type Marine Evacuation Systems Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 October 2007
  24. ^ Sturcke, James (6 March 2007). "Herald of sea changes". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  25. ^ Davis, Stephen (23 May 2005). "Death in the Baltic: the MI6 connection". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 12 July 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  26. ^ Tukkimäki, Paavo (20 February 2001). "Finnish Estonia Commission members still reject explosion theories". Helsingin Sanomat. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011.
  27. ^ Borgnäs, Lars (Fall 2004). "War materials smuggled on Estonia". Uppdrag granskning. Sveriges Television. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  28. ^ "Utredningen om transport av försvarsmateriel på M/S Estonia" (in Swedish). Ministry of Defence (Sweden). 21 January 2005.
  29. ^ "Riigikogu Committee of Investigation to Ascertain the Circumstances Related to the Export of Military Equipment from the Territory of the Republic of Estonia on the Ferry Estonia in 1994 – Final Report". Riigikogu. 19 December 2006. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  30. ^ Wallius, Anniina (29 September 2004). "Estonian tuho lietsoi salaliittoteorioita" (in Finnish). YLE. Archived from the original on 12 May 2011.
  31. ^ a b Whittingham, The Blame Machine, p. 140
  32. ^ "Justitieutskottets betänkande 1994/95: JuU23 Gravfrid över m/s Estonia" (in Swedish). The Riksdag. 18 May 1995.
  33. ^ "Chapter 50: Övertäckningen stoppas". En granskning av Estoniakatastrofen och dess följder. Statens offentliga utredningar (in Swedish). SOU 1998:132. Statens offentliga utredningar.
  34. ^ "Agreement between the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Finland and the Kingdom of Sweden regarding the M/S Estonia". Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Sweden). 23 February 1995.
  35. ^ Danné, Ulla; Nilsson, Birgitta /TT (18 May 1998). "Sjöfartsverket höll tyst om stoppade Estonia-dykare". Aftonbladet (in Swedish).
  36. ^ a b c "Viking Sally deck plan". Viking Line brochure (in Finnish, Swedish, and English). Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  37. ^ a b "Viking Sally General Arrangement plan". Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  38. ^ a b c "Viking Sally Restaurant deck 6 plan". Viking Line brochure (in Swedish and Finnish). Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  39. ^ a b "Viking Sally Conference deck 4 plan". Viking Line brochure (in Swedish and Finnish). Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  40. ^ a b "Viking Sally cutaway". Viking Line brochure (in Swedish, Finnish, and English). Vasabåtarna.se. Retrieved 20 December 2008.
  41. ^ "Built From Disaster Season 1 Episode 2: Ships". TV Guide. Retrieved 29 September 2017.

General

  • Whittingham, Robert B. (2004). "Design errors". The Blame Machine: why human error causes accidents. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-5510-0.
  • "Final report on the MV ESTONIA disaster of 28 September 1994". Helsinki: Joint Accident Investigation Commission. 1997. Archived from the original on 2 June 2001. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)

Further reading

External links

1 May 1994

The 3-time Formula One world champion Ayrton Senna is killed in an accident whilst leading the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

Brazil’s three-time Formula One world champion Senna was killed in an accident during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on May 1st, 1994. The circuit is being opened to the public from the 20th anniversary on Thursday through to May 4th.

Roland Ratzenberger, the Austrian driver who died the day before Senna in a crash on the same track during qualifying, will also be remembered.

Past and current figures from F1 are set to be present for a series of events, from which a part of each day’s proceeds will go towards the Ayrton Senna Institute’s charitable works.

Around the Imola site – where the paddock and pits will be open and people will be able to either drive, cycle or travel on foot around the track – there will be a commemorative ceremony, as well as exhibitions and talks, including a presentation on safety in F1.

A lasting legacy of the deaths of Senna and Ratzenberger was the impact they had on the attitudes towards driver safety in the sport. It is testament to the measures implemented since, that Senna, who was 34, remains the last driver to die over the course of an F1 weekend.

The Sao Paulo native was truly a sporting superstar at the time of his death, and has attained almost demigod status in his home country. He made his F1 debut in 1984 with Toleman and, after moving to Lotus, secured two fourth-placed championship finishes and then third spot in 1987.

In 1988 he joined McLaren as team-mate to Alain Prost, and from there, one of the greatest rivalries in F1 history played out.

Senna pipped the Frenchman to the title that year, saw Prost take it ahead of him in 1989, and was then crowned champion in each of the following two seasons, becoming the then-youngest three-time champion in history in 1991 at the age of 31.

In 1992 he came fourth and was then second in 1993 as Prost, who had moved to Williams, claimed his fourth title.

Senna finally joined Williams himself for the 1994 campaign, with Prost deciding to retire as he refused to be his team-mate again. The Brazilian made his worst start to a season with two retirements in the opening two races. The third race, which proved to be his last, was at Imola.

Senna, who was leading at the time, crashed on lap seven, smashing into a wall at the Tamburello Curve and sustaining fatal head injuries.

Brazil’s president Itamar Franco ordered three days of national mourning, and when Senna’s body was flown back to his home city, an estimated three million people lined the streets to pay their respects as it made a 20-mile journey from the airport to the building where he lay in state.

Once there, the queue of those who wished to pay their last respects is understood to have stretched for three miles, some suggesting it was seven hours before the last of the 200,000 mourners shuffled past.

23 March 1994

Aeroflot Flight 593 crashed in, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia, killing 75.

Aeroflot Flight 593 was a regular passenger flight from Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow, to Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. On 23 March 1994, the aircraft operating the route, an Airbus A310-304 flown by Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines, crashed into a mountain range in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia, killing all 63 passengers and 12 crew members on board.

No evidence of a technical malfunction was found. Cockpit voice and flight data recorders revealed the presence of the relief pilot’s 12-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son on the flight deck. While seated at the controls, the pilot’s son had unknowingly disengaged the A310’s autopilot control of the aircraft’s ailerons. The autopilot then disengaged completely causing the aircraft to roll into a steep bank and a near-vertical dive. Despite managing to level the aircraft, the first officer over-corrected when pulling up, causing the plane to stall and enter into a corkscrew dive; the pilots managed to level the aircraft off once more, but by then the plane had lost too much altitude to recover and crashed into the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain range.

The aircraft involved in the accident was a leased Airbus A310-304, registration F-OGQS, serial number 596, that was delivered new to Aeroflot on 11 December 1992. Powered with two General Electric CF6-80C2A2 engines, the airframe had its maiden flight as F-WWCS on 11 September 1991, and was one of five operating for Russian Airlines, an autonomous division of Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines that was set up for serving routes to the Russian Far East and Southeast Asia. On average, the crew of three operating the aircraft had logged 900 hours on the type.

The captain of Flight 593 was Andrey Viktorovich Danilov, 40, who was hired by Aeroflot in November 1992. He had accrued over 9,675 hours of flight time, including 950 hours in the A310, of which 895 hours were as captain. The first officer was Igor Vasilyevich Piskaryov, 33, hired by Aeroflot in October 1993, who had 5,885 hours of flight time, including 440 hours in the A310. The relief pilot was Yaroslav Vladimirovich Kudrinsky, 39, who was hired by Aeroflot in November 1992; he had over 8,940 flying hours, including 907 hours in the A310. Kudrinsky also had experience in the Yakovlev Yak-40, Antonov An-12, and Ilyushin Il-76. There were nine flight attendants on board the plane.

On 23 March 1994, the jet aircraft was en route from Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow to Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong with 75 occupants aboard, of whom 63 were passengers. Most of the passengers were businessmen from Hong Kong and Taiwan who were looking for economic opportunities in Russia.

Relief pilot Kudrinsky was taking his two children on their first international flight, and they were brought to the cockpit while he was on duty. Five people were thus on the flight deck: Kudrinsky, co-pilot Piskaryov, Kudrinsky’s children Eldar and Yana, and another pilot, Vladimir Makarov, who was flying as a passenger.

With the autopilot active, Kudrinsky, against regulations, let the children sit at the controls. First, his daughter Yana took the pilot’s left front seat. Kudrinsky adjusted the autopilot’s heading to give her the impression that she was turning the plane, though she actually had no control of the aircraft. Shortly thereafter, Kudrinsky’s son Eldar occupied the pilot’s seat. Unlike his sister, Eldar applied enough force to the control column to contradict the autopilot for 30 seconds. This caused the flight computer to switch the plane’s ailerons to manual control while maintaining control over the other flight systems. A silent indicator light came on to alert the pilots to this partial disengagement. The pilots, who had previously flown Russian-designed planes which had audible warning signals, apparently failed to notice it.

Eldar was the first to notice a problem, when he observed that the plane was banking right. Shortly after, the flight path indicator changed to show the new flight path of the aircraft as it turned. Since the turn was continuous, the resulting predicted flight path drawn on screen was a 180-degree turn. This indication is similar to those shown when in a holding pattern, where a 180-degree turn is required to remain in a stable position. This confused the pilots for nine seconds, during which time the plane banked past a 45-degree angle to almost 90 degrees, steeper than the design allowed. The A310 cannot turn this steeply while maintaining height, and the plane started to lose altitude quickly. The increased g-forces on the pilots and crew made it extremely difficult for them to regain control. The autopilot, which no longer controlled the ailerons, used its other controls in order to compensate, pitching the nose up and increasing thrust; as a result the plane began to stall; the autopilot, unable to cope, disengaged completely. A second, larger indicator light came on to alert the pilots of the complete disengagement, and this time they did notice it. At the same time, the autopilot’s display screen went blank. To recover from the stall, an automatic system lowered the nose and put the plane into a nosedive. The reduced g-forces enabled Kudrinsky to re-take his seat. Piskaryov then managed to pull out of the dive, but over-corrected, putting the plane in an almost vertical ascent, again stalling the plane, which fell out of the sky into a corkscrew dive. Although Kudrinsky and Piskaryov regained control and leveled out the wings, they did not know how far they had descended during the crisis and their altitude by then was too low to recover. The plane crashed at high vertical speed, estimated at 70 m/s. All 75 occupants died from impact.

The aircraft crashed with its landing gear up, and all passengers had been prepared for an emergency, as they were strapped into their seats. No distress calls were made prior to the crash. Despite the struggles of both pilots to save the aircraft, it was later concluded that if they had just let go of the control column, the autopilot would have automatically taken action to prevent stalling, thus avoiding the accident.

The wreckage was located on a remote hillside in the Kuznetsk Alatau mountain chain, approximately 20 kilometres east of Mezhdurechensk, Kemerovo Oblast, Russia; the flight data recorders were found on the second day of searching. Families of western victims placed flowers on the crash site, while families of Chinese victims scattered pieces of paper with messages written on them around the crash site.

The airline originally denied that the children were in the cockpit, but accepted the fact when the Moscow-based magazine Obozrevatel published the transcript on the week of Wednesday, 28 September 1994. The Associated Press said that, according to the transcript, “the Russian crew almost succeeded in saving the plane”. The New York Times said that “A transcript of the tape printed in the magazine Obozrevatel shows that the Russian crew nearly managed to save the Airbus plane and the 75 people on board, but that it was hampered by the presence of children and its unfamiliarity with the foreign-made plane.” The New York Times also stated that an analysis by an aviation expert published in Rossiiskiye Vesti supported that analysis.

12 March 1994

The first female priests are ordained by the Church of England.

Since the Church of England’s split with Rome in 1534, it’s always trodden a dainty path between the Catholicism of the High Church, and the Protestantism of the Reformation. That’s meant a fair few compromises. But one thing it didn’t compromise on for nearly 400 years was ordaining women as priests.

The idea was first tentatively floated in 1920. But it took until 1975 for the General Synod to pass a motion saying it had “no fundamental objections” to the ordination of women to the priesthood. But it didn’t actually do anything concrete about it.

In 1985 it passed laws allowing women to be deacons. But understandably, pressure continued to allow women into the priesthood.

That didn’t happen for a while. In 1988, the General Synod approved the draft legislation to allow women priests. It finally voted in favour of women priests in 1992, after a five-hour debate – and by just two votes.

And so, on 12 March 1994 in Bristol Cathedral, 32 women were ordained as priests.

But a lot of people weren’t happy. In fact, 400 vicars were so opposed to the idea of women priests that they flounced off en masse to the Roman Catholic Church.

And for those who stayed, but who couldn’t abide the idea of a woman in the pulpit, the rather bonkers plan of ‘flying bishops’ was devised – traditionalist bishops who could swoop down from on high, bringing manly ministrations to parishes who wanted their vicar to be a chap.

It took another 20 years for the even more outlandish idea of women bishops to be accepted, however. The Church only formally adopted legislation to allow that in November 2014. The Rt Rev Libby Lane, was ordained as the Bishop of Stockport in January 2015.

3 December 1994

The PlayStation was first released in Japan.

1200px-PSX-Console-wController

On December 3, 1994, the PlayStation was finally released in Japan, one week after the Sega Saturn. The initial retail cost was 37,000 yen, or about $387. Software available at launch included King’s Field, Crime Crackers, and Namco’s Ridge Racer, the PlayStation’s first certifiable killer app. It was met with long lines across Japan, and was hailed by Sony as their most important product since the WalkMan in the late 1970’s.

Also available at launch were a host of peripherals, including: a memory card to save high scores and games; a link cable, whereby you could connect two PlayStations and two TVs and play against a friend; a mouse with pad for PC ports; an RFU Adaptor; an S-Video Adaptor; and a Multitap Unit. Third party peripherals were also available, including Namco’s Negcon.

The look of the PlayStation was dramatically different than the Saturn, which was beige (in Japan), bulky, and somewhat clumsy looking. In contrast, the PlayStation was slim, sleek, and gray, with a revolutionary controller that was years ahead of the Saturn’s SNES-like pad. The new PSX joypad provided unheardof control by adding two more buttons on the shoulder, making a total of eight buttons. The two extended grips also added a new element of control. Ken Kutaragi realized the importance of control when dealing with 3 Dimensional game worlds. “We probably spent as much time on the joypad’s development as the body of the machine. Sony’s boss showed special interest in achieving the final version so it has his seal of approval.” To Sony’s delight, the PlayStation sold more than 300,000 units in the first 30 days. The Saturn claimed to have sold 400,000, but research has shown that number to be misleading. The PSX sold through (to customers) 97% of its stock, while many Saturns were still sitting on the shelves. These misleading numbers were to be quoted by Sega on many occasions, and continued even after the US launch.

9 November 1994

The chemical element darmstadtium is discovered.

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Darmstadtium is a synthetic chemical element with symbol Ds and atomic number 110. It is an extremely radioactive synthetic element. The most stable known isotope, darmstadtium-281, has a half-life of approximately 10 seconds. Darmstadtium was first created in 1994 by the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research near the city of Darmstadt, Germany, after which it was named.

In the periodic table, it is a d-block transactinide element. It is a member of the 7th period and is placed in the group 10 elements, although no chemical experiments have yet been carried out to confirm that it behaves as the heavier homologue to platinum in group 10 as the eighth member of the 6d series of transition metals. Darmstadtium is calculated to have similar properties to its lighter homologues, nickel, palladium, and platinum.

Darmstadtium was first created on November 9, 1994, at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany, by Peter Armbruster and Gottfried Münzenberg, under the direction of Sigurd Hofmann. The team bombarded a lead-208 target with accelerated nuclei of nickel-62 in a heavy ion accelerator and detected a single atom of the isotope darmstadtium.

In the same series of experiments, the same team also carried out the reaction using heavier nickel-64 ions. During two runs, 9 atoms of 271Ds were convincingly detected by correlation with known daughter decay properties.

9 November 1994

darmstadtium-l

The chemical element ‘darmstadtium’ is first discovered.

Darmstadtium was discovered by S. Hofmann, V. Ninov, F. P. Hessberger, P. Armbruster, H. Folger, G. Münzenberg, H. J. Schött, and others in 1994 at Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany.The name darmstadtium lies within the long established tradition of naming an element after the place of its discovery, Darmstadt, in Germany.

On the 9th of November 1994,the first atom of element 110, darmstadtium, was detected at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany. The isotope discovered has an atomic number of 269 that is 269 times heavier than hydrogen.The new element was produced by fusing a nickel and a lead atom together. This was achieved by accelerating the nickel atoms to a high energy in the heavy ion accelerator UNILAC at GSI. Over a period of many days, many billion billion nickel atoms were fired at a lead target in order to produce and identify a single atom of darmstadtium.