Saturday, July 6, 2013

What is a Superheavy Isotope?

Are you writing a science thriller? What about a mystery with a forensic component? If you're seeking advice from an expert in the sciences, look no further than Katrina Stone, professional biologist and protagonist of "The Vesuvius Isotope." To learn more about Katrina's areas of expertise, click here. To ask a question of your own, click here.

The Vesuvius Isotope features a quest for a new chemical element called a superheavy isotope. While the novel is fiction, superheavy isotopes are real. Below, a reader asks:  

What is a superheavy isotope?

Katrina's answer:

A superheavy isotope is a man-made element generated by a powerful, transient interaction between naturally occurring elements. Currently, six superheavy isotopes have been discovered and incorporated into the periodic table. Because these elements are generated in fractions of a second and then quickly decay into other molecules, it is very difficult to prove that they ever existed at all.

A semi-lay description of the six isotopes currently in existence can be found here.

An observant reader might notice that The Vesuvius Isotope mentions a lengthier periodic table than the one currently in existence. This is because in the novel is set just a few years in the future (2023), and additional elements have been discovered or created.  The biotechnology company co-owned by our protagonist Katrina Stone and her husband has generated and patented twelve additional superheavy isotopes. In a quest to solve her husband's murder, Katrina is searching for the thirteenth.

This blog post explores a non-fictional theme or locale that is incorporated in The Vesuvius Isotope, the first Katrina Stone novel. Buy The Vesuvius Isotope in print or ebook.

From the ancient ruins beneath Mount Vesuvius, a two-thousand-year-old document has emerged. It is the only text ever attributed to the ambitious, inquisitive, and cryptic last pharaoh of Egypt...

When her Nobel laureate husband is murdered, biologist Katrina Stone can no longer ignore the secrecy that has increasingly pervaded his recent behavior. Her search for answers leads to a two-thousand-year-old medical mystery and the life of one of history’s most enigmatic women. Following the trail forged by her late husband, Katrina must separate truth from legend as she chases medicine from ancient Italy and Egypt to a clandestine modern-day war. Her quest will reveal a legacy of greed and murder and resurrect an ancient plague into the twenty-first century.

Kristen Elise, Ph.D. is a drug discovery biologist and the author of The Vesuvius Isotope and The Death Row Complex. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, stepson, and three canine children. 

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