The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Inorganic Chemistry Division released the Provisional Recommendation for the names and symbols of the four newly discovered superheavy elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 on June 8, thereby changing the face of the periodic table. The names listed include the ones that commemorate Japan, Moscow, and Tennessee.
The fourth one will be named after a Russian scientist. The announced provisional names for the elements are currently undergoing review before getting the approval from the IUPAC Council.
Scientists propose for element 113 to be called nihonium (nee-HOH’-nee-um), with the symbol Nh. As recommended by the discoverers at the Japanese institute RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, nihonium comes from Nihon which is one way to say “Japan” in Japanese, meaning “the Land of the Rising Sun.”
The superheavy element 115 will be named Moscovium (mah-SKOH’-vee-um) with the symbol Mc to honor the Moscow region and the ancient Russian land where the discovery team from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) is located. Moscow is the capital of Russia, which, together with its citizens, have backed up JINR and its studies for many years.
Tennessine (Ts) is suggested for element 117 to recognize contributions from the University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), all of which are located in Tennessee, USA. ORNL is credited for helping discover and confirm other nine superheavy elements earlier.
Element 118 is proposed to be named Oganesson (OH’-gah-NEH’-sun) with the symbol Og, and the proposed name honors the contributions of the Russian physicist Yuri Oganessian who helped expand the knowledge of the superheavy nuclei and the periodic table.
The new elements complete the seventh row of the periodic table. Members from JINR and LLNL previously discovered elements 114 (flerovium) and 116 (livermorium). Tennessee is the second state in the US, the first being California, to be honored with an element.