Scientists Discover Element of Surprise


March, 2012

PALO ALTO – In what is being hailed as “the most unanticipated discovery of our time,” the
scientific community revealed yesterday that it had suddenly and unintentionally discovered the
element of surprise.

According to a statement by Herbert L. Jennings, chief laboratory chemist at the University
of California, the team abruptly encountered the element during a routine electron

“It came out of nowhere,” Jennings stated. “We were just sifting through the electron layers of
various atoms and then bam, this crazy new element just suddenly shows up. We were all very surprised.”

Notable authorities have expressed shock at the new particle’s properties, which resemble
nothing previously encountered among known chemical elements.

“It’s got, like, 200-something valence electrons, for starters,” stated Jennifer Wiels, chemistry
professor at Berkeley. “And the arrangement of neutrons and protons in the nucleus is all
screwed up, too. They’re not arranged according to any atomic property or law that we know of.”

Added Wiels: “We totally weren’t expecting this.”

The atomic properties of surprise, abbreviated Su in its new place on the periodic table, include
an unprecedented magnetic moment, unheard-of energy levels, and a startingly large nucleus,
leaving scientists baffled as to the atom’s origins.

“We’re not even sure where this particle originated from,” said George Blakeslee, of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Most elements were born in the fires of the Big Bang
or forged in the hearts of distant suns, but we can’t seem to figure out where the surprise came

Blakeslee added, “It’s like it just came out of left field.”

“Man, that atom scared the shit out of us,” Jennings reported. “In fact, the first thing that the
research assistant said when he saw it on the electron microscope was ‘Yaaah! Where the hell
did that come from?!’”

Moreover, researchers are certain that analysis of the new element will yield astonishing and
unforeseen insights into the nature of matter.

“This beast probably has dozens, if not hundreds, of isotopes,” Blakeslee
commented. “Shock, awe, stupefaction, wonderment, consternation, perhaps even fright.”
Wiels asserts that creating compounds with the element of surprise may likewise have
astounding ramifications.

“If he combined the element of surprise with a noble gas, such as krypton, Lex Luthor might
finally be able to kill Superman,” Wiels stated. “Holy freakin’ crap, this changes everything.”

At press time, a new chorus of screams and hollering was heard to resound from the Palo
Alto physics laboratory. Informed sources have stated that the first isotope of surprise had been
synthesized and had taken the research team totally unawares.


Andrew T. Post

Andrew T. Post

Andrew T. Post graduated from North Dakota State University in December of 2007, when the weather was so cold that Starbucks was serving coffee on a stick. He took his degree in journalism and put it to good use, penning sententious articles on his blog and works of short science fiction. In early 2012 he packed his bags and sought occupational asylum in the Republic of South Korea, where he lives in a ninth-floor apartment and works as an English teacher. He is a licensed pilot, a classically-trained bartender, and an unapologetic punster whose first novel is currently seeking a venue.