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Everyday science

Do you like the element names livermorium and flerovium?

08 Dec 2011 Hamish Johnston

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By Hamish Johnston

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has unveiled the proposed names for elements 114 and 116. Named after Georgi Flerov, founder of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia, element 114 will, if approved, be called flerovium and have the symbol Fl. Element 116, meanwhile, will be named livermorium after the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and given the atomic symbol Lv.

The elements were created by researchers at the JINR back in 2004 and were both confirmed by scientists at the LLNL in California and the Centre for Heavy Ion Research (GSI) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Commenting on the suggested names has now opened to anyone for a five-month period, which will end in April. So what do you think? In this week’s _Facebook_ poll, we want you to answer the following question.

Do you like the element names livermorium and flerovium?

I like both of them
I like livermorium but not flerovium
I like flerovium but not livermorium
They’re both boring and unimaginative

To cast your vote, please visit our Facebook page; you are also free to suggest your own names by posting a comment.

In last week’s Facebook poll we asked you when you thought we will see the first working nuclear-fusion reactor supplying electricity to a grid? Nearly half of you (49%) chose the most optimistic option, saying that we could be running our toasters on fusion within 30 years. Some 21% foresee fusion reactors in 30–60 years and 7% think they will be a reality within 60–90 years. However, 23% of you believe that it’s unlikely ever to happen.

Commenting on a related Facebook posting about an article on the Canadian company General Fusion, Michael Simmons wrote “In high-school physics in 1968, I was told practical fusion power was 20 years away. In 1971, in college-modern physics, it was 20 years away. As a high-school physics teacher, I attended a conference on the energy future in 1985 and fusion was 20 years away. In 2005, at a local conference on future energy sources, fusion was mentioned as being 20 years from becoming economically feasible. I don’t believe it is never, but I have come to believe it won’t be in my lifetime.”

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