Like its immediate predecessors, element 108 (Hs), is of purely theoretical interest and has an extremely short half-life, decaying by spontaneous fission. It is so unstable, in fact, that it was not discovered until after element 109 had been positively confirmed.
The search for elements beyond uranium has occupied the attention of various groups of scientists around the world since the late 1940's. The principals involved hail from the laboratories at Berkeley, California, what was previously the Soviet Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna, and the Heavy-Ion Research Laboratory in Darmstadt, Germany.
Originally a committee of the IUPAC recommended that element 108 be named Hahnium, after a German scientist, Otto Hahn. That name met with some opposition and the name approved in August 1997 is Hassium, named for the German state of Hesse.
Contributors and Attributions
Stephen R. Marsden