Star Trek commonly refers to chemical elements we "haven't yet" discovered, such as "bilitrium", "illirium", "veridium", and "yominium".

A few might correspond to isotopes found in the Island of Stability, but there simply isn't enough room there to account for the hundreds of extra elements present in the Star Trek universe.

Is there any hint anywhere about how these bound states form? Are they proton-neutron-electron collections or something else? Are forces other than the strong nuclear and the electromagnetic involved?

  • Do they have to be elements? Could they not be compounds? (Perhaps the "ium" suffix is only for elements?) Jan 6, 2016 at 16:06
  • 1
    I'm not sure, to be honest, but the list given in that link is called "Elements", so... Jan 6, 2016 at 16:08
  • It is also possible to form 'atoms' out of particles besides protons, neutron, and electron. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_atom). That could account for the prevalence of so many as-yet undiscovered 'elements' Jan 6, 2016 at 16:10
  • The problem with exotic atoms is they are generally unstable. Apparently positronium is metastable, but that makes it essentially an explosive, because as a matter-antimatter pair, it decays into high energy photons. Jan 6, 2016 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


A few might correspond to isotopes found in the Island of Stability, but there simply isn't enough room there to account for the hundreds of extra elements present in the Star Trek universe.

There is enough room, because these new elements invented for Star Trek aren't in addition to the existing elements from the real world - they replace many of them!

The Star Trek periodic table described by Memory Alpha based on images seen in the TNG episode Rascals is quite weird and unfamiliar to real chemists:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Elements are sorted by atomic weight, which is seemingly unrelated to atomic size and doesn't correlate (in the cases of elements that do exist in the real world) with real atomic weight.

In this table, though, nearly all the entries are joke elements, so perhaps we can safely ignore this as "just an in-joke" (don't kill me, all you hard-core Trekkies!) The Starfleet Medical Reference Manual has a more sensible-looking periodic table with far fewer imaginary elements:

enter image description here

In either case, given that there is still a periodic table, and its overall shape is similar to that of the real one (although some of the elements have different names), it's reasonable to conclude that atoms of different elements are made up of varying numbers of protons, neutrons, and electrons just as in the real world.

  • Top image is broken
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:34
  • You might want to consider adding this image from Voyager
    – Valorum
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:41
  • @Richard I think that's the one I tried to add, but couldn't get the image to come out properly.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:44
  • So, at the botton of the table there are the lanthanides, the actinides, the bo..ides (Bo maybe borgium so borgides?). But what about the 139-140? Arent they a bit miplaced? Maybe they are the famous island of stability, but IMO they should be below.
    – rodrigo
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:10
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    There is a scene in TNG Night Terrors where Data shows Troi a number of elements: i.giphy.com/l0Hlvoj8nieU2TjjO.gif
    – Xantec
    Nov 6, 2016 at 3:21

This is just cannon, if we do become an interstellar species the elements may change due to the involvement as a species (what we get from the universe may change and elements may evolve as well). Or we may be able to break elements even further, (for example helium is an element but what in the future we discover helium can be broken down even further and thus a new element is defined where helium may be no more than a bi-product)

  • It doesn't work that way...
    – Molag Bal
    Nov 6, 2016 at 2:58
  • Literally no part of this besides "This is just cannon" carries any truth at all. Nov 6, 2016 at 3:03
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    We already know what happens when helium is broken down. The result is hydrogen. Nov 6, 2016 at 3:16
  • In what sense would the elements evolve?
    – Adamant
    Nov 6, 2016 at 3:39
  • Elements can't evolve. Elements are defined by the number of protons, and we already know all the ones up to 118. So there is absolutely no way to create new elements by breaking down known ones. Nov 6, 2016 at 7:50

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