Four newest elements on periodic table get names

periodic table

NEW NAMES The periodic table’s newest elements now have names. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved the names nihonium (Nh), moscovium (Mc), tennessine (Ts) and oganesson (Og) on November 28.

E. Otwell

Four new elements now have names.

In December, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially recognized the discovery of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118, filling out the seventh row of the periodic table (SN: 2/6/16, p. 7). As is traditional in chemistry, the naming rights went to the discoverers: Scientists at RIKEN in Wako, Japan, named element 113, and a Russian-U.S. collaboration named the others.

Element 113 is dubbed “nihonium” with the chemical symbol Nh. Its name comes from the Japanese word Nihon, or “Land of the Rising Sun,” a name for Japan.

Element 115 will receive the moniker “moscovium,” shortened to Mc, after the Moscow region, home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, where the element was discovered in collaboration with researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Tennessee also gets a periodic table shout-out. The name for element 117 is “tennessine,” after the home state of Oak Ridge and Vanderbilt University, which was also involved in the discovery. It will bear the symbol Ts.

Element 118 will be named oganesson, or Og, after Yuri Oganessian, a Russian physicist who contributed to the discovery of several superheavy elements.

After a five-month public review period and approval by the IUPAC, the names will become official.

Physics writer Emily Conover has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago. She is a two-time winner of the D.C. Science Writers’ Association Newsbrief award.

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