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Everyday science

Name the element, continued

05 Jan 2016 Michael Banks
(Courtesy: Shutterstock/Nerthuz)

By Michael Banks

It will soon be time to get the Tipp-Ex out on your copy of the periodic table.

That is because the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) have announced the discovery of four new elements: 113, 115, 117 and 118 – completing the table’s seventh row.

The two unions jointly declared that element 113, currently called ununtrium, was discovered by researchers at the RIKEN lab in Japan in work published between 2004 and 2011.

They also announced that between 2010 and 2013, researchers from three labs – the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, as well as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, both in the US – discovered elements 115 and 117, which are currently called ununpentium and ununseptium, respectively.

As for element 118, IUPAC and IUPAP credit a collaboration between Livermore and Dubna with discovering ununoctium in 2006.

The labs involved in the discoveries will now be able to propose permanent names and symbol for each element, which will be checked by IUPAC for consistency, historic use as well as how well the name translates into other languages. Once it passes that stage, the name and symbol will then undergo public consultation for five months before a final decision is made by IUPAC’s council.

So readers – what are your suggestions for naming elements 113, 115, 117 and 118?

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