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In 2002 and 2005, a few atoms of ununoctium were synthesized in a reaction between californium and calcium [249Cf + 48Ca] by researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California, USA in collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Research, Russia.

Ununoctium is believed to be a gas and is very short-lived; it rapidly decomposes to element 116 - ununhexium

In 1999, scientists at the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in California, had announced the observation of what appeared to be element 118 - the heaviest transuranic element at the time. However, in 2001, the Berkely Lab retracted these findings, as scientists were unable to reproduce the previously stated results.