All were named for a scientist, region or country important to the field.
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The periodic table is getting a little bigger after scientists added the names of four new elements, completing the seventh row of the chart.
The options could have included mythological characters or minerals, but the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry settled on names based on the locations where elements were discovered or researchers who helped find them.
The elements are:
• 113 Nihonium (Nh), named by the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan. Nihon means Japan or literally “the Land of Rising Sun,” in Japanese. The element is the first discovered in and named after an Asian country.
• 115 Moscovium (Mc), chosen to honor the Russian region and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, where experiments were conducted.
• 117 Tennessine (Ts), which recognized the state for contributions from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Vanderbilt University and University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
• 118 Oganesson (Og), which honored Yuri Oganessian for pioneering research on super-heavy elements.
“The names of the new elements reflect the realities of our present time,” said Natalia Tarasova, president of the scientific group, listing places from three continents and the pivotal role of researchers such as Oganessian.
The endings – “ium” and “ine” and “on” – relate to where the elements are seated around the table.
The scientific group proposed the names in May and sought public comment for five months. The names were finalized Wednesday. No other requests for names are pending, so the period table is complete – for now.
“Overall, it was a real pleasure to realize that so many people are interested in the naming of the new elements, including high-school students, making essays about possible names and telling how proud they were to have been able to participate in the discussions,” said Jan Reedijk, president of the group’s Inorganic Chemistry Division. “For now, we can all cherish our periodic table completed down to the seventh row.”
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