"element 117, the last holdout in the last row of the periodic table. An international team of physicists reports that it has produced the element – fleetingly – in an atom smasher in Russia."
That's from http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0407/Get-out-the-periodic-table-kids!-There-s-a-new-element-117?sp_rid=NTI5OTY1Mzg0OQS2&sp_mid=4403988 I don't remember hearing about this in NPR, or reading about it in WSJ or NYT. Maybe it was in there and I missed it.
To me, this is stunningly exciting news, on par with the closing of the American frontier after the US Census in 1890, but much more definitive -- last element in the last row.
Maybe bigger news
Are there other rows? The same group of scientists thinks they might have a strategy for finding elements 119 and 120.
Farther out, is there an island of stability -- an area of the periodic table in which elements achieve stability and last for more than a few millionths of a second.