TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has recommended that the names of four new elements to be added to the periodic table be approved following a five-month public review process that would end on November 8.
The elements’ discovery teams were invited to name the new synthetic elements after satisfying claims for discovery in December, the agency advised on Wednesday.
Among the new elements was the Japanese-discovered and named nihonium (Nh), element 113, which was Asia’s first contribution to the table.
According to the Japan-backed research institute Riken Nishina Centre for Accelerator-Based Science’s group director Kosuke Morita, the team who first synthesised the element in July 2004 decided on the name ‘nihonium’, bearing in mind the great support it have received from the Japanese people.
Nihon was one of two ways to say “Japan” in Japanese, and literally meant “the land of rising sun”.
“We are honoured to have the name of an element discovered by a research group in Japan earn a permanent seat on the periodic table, an intellectual legacy that will be passed down to future generations for the benefit of humankind. There is no greater honour for our group than to share the joy of the discovery of the new element and the recognition of its name and symbol with people all over the world,” Morita stated on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Russian and US scientists had proposed moscovium (Mc) for element 115, tennessine (Ts) for element 117 and oganesson (Og) for element 118.
The elements were named after the Russian capital Moscow, US state Tennessee and Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian.
In chemistry, a synthetic element is a chemical element that does not occur naturally on earth, and can only be created artificially in laboratories. So far, 24 synthetic elements had been created, with atomic numbers ranging between 95 and 118. All were considered unstable, decaying with reported half-lives ranging from 15.6-million years to a few hundred microseconds.
The IUPAC advised on Wednesday that newly discovered elements could be named after mythological concepts or characters, minerals or similar substances, places, or geographical regions, a property of the element, or a scientist.
The association added that laboratories around the world were already working on searches for the elements in the eighth row of the periodic table, and they were also working to consolidate the identification of copernicium and heavier elements.
To be able to evaluate this work, IUPAC and the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics were currently reviewing the selection principles and operations of a future joint working party (JWP) and as soon as these principles had been decided, a new group of elements would be formed. This new JWP would review new claims and the consistency of new results with those already evaluated by earlier JWPs, the agency advised.