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Everyday science

IUPAC unveils names of four new elements

08 Jun 2016 Hamish Johnston

By Hamish Johnston

The periodic table could soon be graced by four new symbols (Nh, Mc, Ts and Og) as the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has just unveiled its proposed names for the four most recently discovered elements. Their discovery had been confirmed earlier this year jointly by IUPAC and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

Element 113 was discovered at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science in Japan and will be called nihonium (Nh). Nihon is a transliteration of “land of the rising sun”, which is a Japanese name for Japan.

Moscovium (Mc) is the new moniker for element 115. It was discovered at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, which is in Russia’s Moscow region.

Element 117 will be called tennessine (Ts) after the US state of Tennessee, which is home to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The element was discovered at the JINR using samples prepared at Oak Ridge and several universities in Tennessee.

The only non-geographic name goes to element 118, which will be named oganesson after the Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian, who led the team at JINR that discovered element 118.

The naming convention is that the research collaborations that discovered the element get to suggest a name, which is then recommended for acceptance by IUPAC. After a five-month public consultation period, the final decision on adopting the name is made by IUPAC.

Let us know what you think of these new names by leaving a comment. And if you strongly disapprove of a name, get in touch with IUPAC.

You can read more about the names in this announcement from IUPAC.

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