Not mere numbers; Fleeting elements get names.
No one escapes death, but if you get an element named after you, well, that's about the closest thing to immortality on Earth. Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, and Lise Meitner finished their final experiments years ago, but all live on - in the periodic table of the elements - with rutherfordium, bohrium and meitnerium.
Now, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics has given a dose of immortality to two more individuals, along with a place, by officially naming elements 110, 111 and 112.
Elements 110 and 111, discovered in 1994, have been named darmstadtium (Ds) and roentgenium (Rg), after, respectively, the German town where they were first synthesized, and the discoverer of x-rays, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Element 112, found in 1996, was dubbed copernicium (Cn), for the famous Polish astronomer.
One might argue that neither Roentgen nor Copernicus needed any further press, and Darmstadt, too, has made its mark in history. But a place whose name means anything from "Boggy Headlands" to "Intestine City" - no one really knows - can now relax. It has its own element, and a spot in the scientific pantheon forever.