From the secondary ion experiments (high energetic protons of 24 GeV impinging on the W beam stopper at Cern at the beginning 1970is, repeated measurement) nuclear fission, alpha decays and masses by alpha recoil have been measured after chemical separation into various fractions, in particular different actinide chemical fractions. The determination of masses resulted definitely in actinide masses, however generally neutron deficient, where Z was deduced from the chemistry. In 1975 I was first confronted with Marinov's data during my stay at GSI and since then was fascinated after an elaborate significance analysis reduced all falsification attempts of Marinov's data to absurdum.
There were plenty of data, but mainly mysterious, acquainted things were practically not found; even worse the well established semi-empirical relations between alpha decay lifetime and alpha energy for actinide Z were typically violated by 5 to 6 orders of magnitude in a way that they were not retarded which could have been understood, but strongly accelerated and there were no counterparts and no explanation known. Z=112 was identified as Eka-mercury in a mercury chemical fraction by mass spectrometry of fission tracks. The lifetime was surprisingly long, many orders of magnitude longer than what was measured later in heavy ion experiments at GSI consistent with theoretical expectations. Even more implausible were the formation cross sections of mb measured by Marinov, about 9 orders of magnitude bigger than seen later in the heavy ion experiments in a consistent way.
The discrepancies to Marinov's data corroborated themselves during the course of time, supposedly better secondary ion and heavy ion experiments for the formation of the super-heavy elements measured by Marinov et al were negative or not significant enough, but identical repetitions of the experiments have only been done by Marinov himself obtaining consistent results, all others always changed essential details. Nobody ever was able to prove experimental errors to Marinov and all attempts to characterise his data as insignificant or false failed. Therefore it appeared unreasonable to ignore the great body of unexplained data including some others in the literature. There must have been an explanation for them and for the discrepancies to the heavy ion accelerator results and the traditional understanding of the properties of nuclei.
And indeed this was finally found theoretically and experimentally (16O + Au and 28Si + Ta) as the interplay of spin, deformation and sub-barrier fusion. In particular super- and hyper-deformation is essential which in turn can be understood from the cluster properties in the secondary and tertiary deformation minimum.
The long term investigation over many years of Am and Bk chemical fractions found the alpha decay of 236Pu proving the long lifetime of isomers in 236Am and 236Bk (their ground states live many orders of magnitude shorter) and exhibited their beta(+) or EC decay to 236 Pu. The 16O + 197Au and 28Si + 181Ta experiments finally showed both accelerated and delayed particle decays and super-deformed gamma bands; especially interesting is delayed proton emission where the protons were unambiguously identified by their very narrow energy linewidth in a relatively thick catcher foil. Obviously can shell effects especially near magic shells stabilise neutron deficient nuclei so much that they do not at all decay fast by alpha or beta (EC) but emit preferentially protons after substantially long life time. Also in the old secondary reaction results of Marinov et al one finds very narrow particle energy lines from the rather thick samples which according to present knowledge should be signatures of delayed proton emission.
One would not have thought that atomic nuclei can have so much individual structure after the picture of a charged drop with a bit of shell structure was so successful. Therefore Marinov's data have fundamentally changed our understanding of the properties of nuclei and in effect offer a new nuclear physics. And there are surprisingly close analogies to the properties of molecules where e.g. excimer lasers use the fact that an excited state can live many orders of magnitude longer than the practically spontaneously dissociating ground state.
Nevertheless it was for Marinov and me still a surprise that even in nature superheavy elements could be found by ICP-SFMS mass spectroscopy till about Z=122. Especially carefully investigated was Z=111 (Rg) the Eka-gold which could be enriched by 3 - 4 orders of magnitude through evaporation (better sublimation) of a gold sample. This leads to the necessary conclusion that this Rg stems from the process of element formation and therefore lives very many orders of magnitude longer than its rather short lived ground state and even many orders of magnitude longer than the superheavy elements formed in the secondary reaction experiments.
But also these mass spectrometry data are disputed, because AMS tandem accelerator measurements which are capable as well to detect trace elements, supposedly even a bit more sensitively, claimed not to have found anything in gold samples. But please notice the comment of Marinov in the paper ENRICHMENT FOR THE SUPERHEAVY ELEMENT ROENTGENIUM (Rg) IN NATURAL Au. Like in the secondary reactions of high energy protons on W it has only been Marinov himself who repeated the ICP-SFMS measurements consistently.
Why nobody took the effort to truly repeat Marinov's experiments may be understood from the general attitude that nobody wants to be second and may even face publication problems, because "just" having repeated a given experiment as identical as possible.
Even though the problems have been basically solved by Marinov and me there is still much work left including rather completely possible nuclear structures and their dynamics (deformation, spin, cluster structure, sub-barrier reactions, etc.) till one will have a quantitative and accurate experimental and theoretical understanding of all the phenomena possible in nuclei. And if we are lucky it may even have important technical implications.
Written by Prof. Dietmar Kolb