The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially added four new elements to Chemistry’s periodic table of elements Wednesday.
The elements are superheavy, synthesized elements in the seventh row of the table. They were synthesized between 2002 and 2010 but not recognized by the International Union officially until December 2015.
In June 2016, the teams of scientists who discovered and first synthesized the elements proposed names for them, and a five-month waiting period began for the public to ask questions about the new elements. Placeholders — ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium and ununoctium — were filling the spots until the official designation, which happened this week, The New York Times reported.
The superheavy elements break down easily into lighter elements. Most do not exist in nature; they must be made in a lab using nuclear fission. They tend to be unstable and most don’t last more than a few minutes before breaking down, according to Chemistry World.
Here are the four new elements:
• Nihonium, element 113, symbol Nh, was discovered by the Japanese. Nihon means Japan in Japanese.
• Moscovium, element 115, symbol Mc, was discovered by Russian scientists, with the help of an American team that also discovered element 117, and was named after Moscow.
• Tennessine, element 117, symbol Ts, was discovered by American scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, with help from the Russian team that also discovered Moscovium.
• Oganesson, element 118, symbol Og, was named after Yuri Oganessian, a Russian nuclear physicist who was a pioneer in research on superheavy elements. This element was discovered by both Russian and American scientists.
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