The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), which serves to advance the worldwide aspects of the chemical sciences and to contribute to the application of chemistry in the service of humankind, announced on December 30 that four new elements have been added to the periodic table – completing the table’s seventh row. While this may not be thrilling news for high school sophomores who now have four more names to memorize on their favorite chart in chemistry class, it is exciting for chemistry enthusiasts and scientists around the world.

“The chemistry community is eager to see its most cherished table finally being completed down to the seventh row. IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements, temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut, element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117) and ununoctium  (Uuo, element 118),” said Professor Jan Reedijk, President of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC.

Element 113 was discovered by the RIKEN collaboration team in Japan. Work between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, discovered elements 115 and 117. And the collaboration between the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, resulted in the discovery of element 118. The scientists who worked on these efforts have now been invited to suggest permanent names and symbols for the elements.

According to IUPAC, the proposed names and symbols will be checked by its Inorganic Chemistry Division for consistency, translatability into other languages and possible prior historic use for other cases. New elements can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist.

Congratulations to all those involved in the research behind these latest discoveries!