What Happens When You Mix Every Single Element Together at Once?

The entire periodic table mixed together is one of those awesome what if scenarios so out there that not even scientists know for sure. Their guess? Anything from "a quark-gluon plasma" (!) to "flaming plutonium." Do not try at home!

Luckily, you could never try this at home, as NYU theoretical chemist Mark Tuckerman says attempting to fuse all of the known elements would require "118 [Large Hadron Colliders]-one to accelerate each element." Sounds a bit pricy! And even then, the results would be fleeting. Quark-gluon plasma, the cosmic stuff theorized to have existed immediately after the Big Bang, "would last for a fraction of a second before degrading." Bummer.

Part of the reason it's so hard to predict what would go down is due to the unpredictably reactive nature of the elements. Random stuff happens depending on which elements happen to be closer to which. "You could run this experiment 100 times and get 100 different combinations," says Tuckerman. One hundred experiments! One hundred and eighteen Large Hadron Colliders! And to what end, besides some split second primordial plasma?

If you tried combining powdered forms of all 118 elements in a sealed container, it wouldn't be pretty—"All hell would break loose," says John Stanton, director of the Institute for Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Texas. "Flaming plutonium is a very bad thing. Inhaling airborne radioactive material can cause rapid death." But after some temporary terror and waves of flaming radioactive chaos, it'd get pretty boring—just a bunch of lame old carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. A lot of the elements wouldn't even react. "Thermodynamics wins again," Stanton smirks. Damn you, laws of the physical world! [PopSci]