U.S., Russian and Japanese scientists credited with official discoveries
The seventh row of the periodic table is officially full.
On December 30, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced that a Russian-U.S. collaboration had attained sufficient evidence to claim the discovery of elements 115, 117 and 118. IUPAC awarded credit for the discovery of element 113 to scientists at RIKEN in Wako, Japan (SN Online: 9/27/12). Both groups synthesized the elements by slamming lighter nuclei into each other and tracking the decay of the radioactive superheavy elements that followed.
Researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which are among the institutions credited with elements 115, 117 and 118, had also laid claim to element 113 after experiments in 2004 (SN: 2/7/04, p. 84) and 2007. But garnering recognition for the three other elements softened the blow, says Dawn Shaughnessy, who leads the experimental nuclear and radiochemistry group at Livermore. “I’m personally very happy with IUPAC’s decision,” she says.
Published reports on the newly recognized elements will appear in early 2016, says IUPAC executive director Lynn Soby. Official recognition of the elements means that their discoverers earn the right to suggest names and symbols. Element 113 will be the first element discovered and named by researchers in Asia.
Editor's note: This article was updated on Jan. 1, 2016, to correct the abbreviation of strontium in the image of the periodic table.
IUPAC. Discovery and assignment of elements with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118. Press release issued December 30, 2015.
R. Ehrenberg. Japanese lab lays claim to element 113. Science News Online, September 27, 2012.
P. Weiss. Two new elements made: Atom smashups yield 113 and 115. Science News, Vol. 165, February 7, 2004, p. 84.