New Elements Named

Exciting news! Back in January I wrote about how four new elements had been officially recognised by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry; elements 113, 115, 117 and 118. So began the process to name said new elements.

As discoverers, the RIKEN lab in Japan (element 115) and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, near Moscow, get first dibs. Now, I know what your thinking: which one of them would go for Elementy McElementface first? Well, sadly, there are rules governing such things and so poor McElementface never stood a chance. If you want your suggestion taken seriously then you need to either go with the name of a famous scientist or or a relevant geographical area.

I was rather hoping the RIKEN lab would go with japonium mostly so that we could get a J into the periodic table; spelling my name with elements isn’t currently possible and it bums me out. They didn’t go for japonium in the end but they weren’t far off. Nihonium (Nh) is the new name for element 113 after the Japanese word nihon which means Land of the Rising Sun. Pretty cool.

Element 115 is now moscovium (Mc), no prizes for guessing why. For some reason I already thought there was an element with that name but I obviously invented it. Ununseptium becomes tennessine (Ts), which I rather like. Tennessee is so honoured as it is the home state of Vanderbilt and Tennessee Universities who helped in the discovery of element 115.

For me element 118 is a bit of a disappointment. It is named oganesson (Og) after Yuri Oganessian, the man who runs the lab in Dubna and discovered several elements. I’ve nothing against Yuri himself and it’s great that he has lived to see such an honour. It’s just that it doesn’t look good, nor does it role off the tongue. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

So there you have it. The four latest additions to what many of us take for granted but what is actually a truly remarkable achievement of mankind, my friend and yours, the Periodic Table of Elements.

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