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2.50pm That’s all, folks…

Well, that was exciting, wasn’t it? We now have four new proposed names for elements: Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson. If you want to find out more, you can read all about them here

I guess I’ll see you when they start work on the eighth row. Until then, enjoy updating your periodic table. 

2.49pm New element names: your reactions

Curious definition of the word ‘important’, I think, David…


2.42pm New element names: your reactions

A very good point, here. 

These names are by no means final. They are now open to public consultation for five months. However, I can’t see too much objection to any of them.

2.38pm Still no Ghiorso…

There’s no doubt that Yuri Oganessian is a terrific pick for the honour of having an element named after him, but I am a little sad that Albert Ghiorso still isn’t recognised. So here’s a clip of him riding his bike, ignoring people yelling at him.

2.36pm The official Iupac release is out

You can read it here. It explains where the names come from, although not much more than we’ve added below. We’re delighted to have picked three out of four names, though; some people were offering odds of 750-1 for Tennessine. I should have had a punt.

2.33pm New element names: your reactions

Welcome indeed!

2.30pm Oganesson

Well, three out of four names isn’t bad! In case you’re wondering, Oganesson is named after Yuri Oganessian, making him the second person to receive the honour of a new element named after him while still alive (after Glenn Seaborg). 

2.26pm And they’re out!

Here they are:

113: Nihonium (Nh)
115: Moscovium (Mc)
117: Tennessine (Ts)
118: Oganesson (Og)


2.23pm Seven minutes to go…

We’re almost there. Well, in theory we’re almost there. It’s an early morning for Iupac. We spoke to them earlier: they’ve been up since 4.30am. You can excuse them a few seconds if the release isn’t bang on time. 

2.19pm Your views

I’ve just seen Tungsten having a physical at Old Trafford… (not sure that joke works outside the UK?)


2.15pm Your views

So are we, Heidi. So are we.

2.10pm What about 119?

While we’re waiting, you might be wondering why, if we can make superheavy metals by bashing two elements together, nobody’s come forward to claim work on the eighth row of the periodic table, starting with 119.

Well, wonder no more: we’ve got you covered.

2.07pm Your views

Sounds like Nihonium is a popular choice…


2.00pm A little confession

OK, confession time. I originally thought (and have made my prediction public several times) that the RIKEN group would go with Japonium or even Rikenium. Now I’m changing it to Nihonium. But there’s still half an hour to go, so it’s OK to flip-flop just one last time…

Half an hour before the new elements. The Chemistry World office is buzzing with excitement now.

1.56pm Reminder: these names won’t be final

Just a quick reminder that these names are only proposed names and will be out for public consultation for five months. It’s likely that whatever is announced will be the final four, but you never know…

1.52pm Our predictions

We couldn’t get this close to launch without having an educated guess ourselves about what the elements are likely to be called. Personally, I’m going to stick my neck out and say 113 is going to be Nihonium (after the name for Japan in Japanese); 115 is going to be Moscovium (after Moscow); 117 is going to be Tennessine (after Tennessee, where Oak Ridge is based) and 118 will be Ghiorson (after Albert Ghiorso). Well… maybe it will be Ghiorsovium and Moscovon. I’m guessing here, and the discoverers have kept their cards close to their chests.

Why do I think Ghiorso? Simply because it’s strange that the man who co-discovered the most elements of all time hasn’t been honoured, while other colleagues, such as Glenn Seaborg, have (even if it was a bit controversial). 


1.46pm Heavy metal!

Despite Iupac’s ‘rules’, that hasn’t prevented some slightly surreal campaigns from starting up – including one to name an element after Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilminster. We’re not going to see Lemmium, but as the great man said himself: ‘you know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools, but that’s the way I like it baby.’ 

1.43pm Iupac’s rules

The four groups involved get first dibs on what to call the new elements, so it’s likely that their suggestions are the ones that Iupac will be putting out for consultation. Sadly Iupac has rules about what they can be called, so don’t expect something silly. The new elements are going to end in either ium (for 113 or 115), ine (for 117) and on (for 118).

They’re also going to be named after one of five things: a mineral, a property of the element, a mythological being, a person or a place.

That doesn’t mean you can’t go crazy: previous elements have been named after everything from a fancy name for Paris to a German mine sprite. And don’t get me started on Plutonium, named not after the Roman lord of the Underworld but the planet/not-a-planet space rock.

1.39pm First predictions from Japan

Japan Times is already reporting that element 113 is going to be called Nihonium (symbol Nh). Not a bad shout. It’s the first element from the country, so you’d expect a little national pride. In fact there are similar reports from other sources so I’m pretty sure Nihonium is a cert.

1.35pm Meet the teams

Let’s start with 113 – currently ununtrium – which is the first element to be discovered in east Asia. The team credited with the discovery is Kosuke Morita’s group at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelorator-based Science in Japan. Morita’s group fired a beam of zinc-70 at a target made of bismuth-209. Initially they had claimed the discovery in 2004, but it took until 2012 to get more convincing evidence.

The next two element discoveries – 115 and 117 – are credited to collaborations between the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the US, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US. The Lawrence Livermore-Joint Institute for Nuclear Research collaboration is also credited with 118 base on work done in 2006.

1.34pm A bit of background

As mentioned, the four new elements were confirmed in January by Iupac, completing the seventh row of the periodic table. The various teams have spent several years (in some cases over a decade) gathering evidence to back up their claim to have made the new elements.

For the uninitiated, the four elements are all highly unstable superheavy metals that exist for only a fraction of a second – which is why it’s taken a while to prove the teams have achieved their goal to the satisfaction of Iupac and its physics equivalent, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics. These are the first new elements whose discovery has been confirmed since flerovium (114) and livermorium (116) in May 2012.

So what are the elements and who are the teams?

1.31pm The countdown begins

Thanks for joining us for what’s expected to be some very exciting news from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (Iupac): the names of the four new elements, whose discoveries were confirmed in January. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow us @ChemistryWorld to keep up with all the goings on; we’ll be using the hashtag #Newelements to keep everybody sane.

In case you’re wondering why this blog’s kicked off, last night we got wind that Iupac will be putting the proposed names of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 out for public consultation from today. Initially it was set to be announced at 4pm UK time (midnight in Japan), but this was moved forward to 10.30pm in Japan – little over an hour away.

Stay tuned for all kinds of element goodness.