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Four new names proposed for periodic table

Scientists in Russia, Japan, and the United States have proposed four new names for the elements they helped discover.

The periodic table will soon have four new names added to its lower right-hand corner. Element 113 should be named nihonium (Nh); element 115 moscovium (Mv); element 117 tennessine (Tc) and element 118 oganesson (Og), according to proposals outlined on 8 June by chemistry’s governing body, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

The laboratories who were credited with the discovery of the elements – in Russia, the United States and Japan – got to propose the names under the constraint that elements can only be named after one of their chemical or physical properties, a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, or a scientist.

The last choice, oganesson, is only the second element named after a living person. It will one of a more than a dozen elements named after individuals, overall.

The post originally said that ogranesson was only the second named after a person. My readers noted that many elements had been named for people, which implied the article was wrong. In truth, I was wrong. The article was more specific and correct, noting that this was only the second element to be named for a living person, as the editor of Nature wrote to explain. I have thus corrected the post, and noted my error here.


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  • Matt in AZ

    There are over a dozen elements named after a person.

  • Well, so much for depending on a science journal like Nature to do good fact-checking. I relied on their article for what I wrote, which was a mistake.

  • The Nature article is correct. As it states, the name oganesson “will mark only the second time that an element has been named after a living scientist”.

    That’s “living” scientist.

    The other elements named after scientists were announced after the researchers in question had passed away. Yuri Oganessian, aged 83, is still alive and no doubt looking forward to having the exceedingly rare honour of having an element named after him in his lifetime. (Well, I expect so: I’ve asked him for comment for the article, but not got a reply yet!)


    Richard Van Noorden (news editor, Nature).

  • wayne

    If Wikipedia is to believed, I’m counting more than 2… but I’m just a civilian.

  • Ah, I stand corrected, from the highest source! Thank you. I will correct the post again

  • Wayne

    Einstein, Fermi, Lawrence, Seaborg….

  • Matt in AZ

    Periodic Videos just posted an episode about the 4 newly named elements. Their other videos are also well worth checking out.

  • wayne

    Matt in AZ:
    I’ve heard about these Periodic Videos– thanks for the link.

    Help me out on this named after a “living person” element-thing;
    Was it just previously Seaborg alone?
    >Einstein, Fermi, and Lawrence were all alive when their respective elements were discovered –so should I assume they were dead when the elements were officially named in their honor, or what?

  • Wayne: The editor of Nature was quite clear. Only two people have ever had elements named after them while they were alive. All the others were honored after their death. That he was willing to comment on BtB to correct the record tells me that he did his due diligence and got this right in the article.

  • wayne

    Ok, my error in comprehension. I stand enlightened.

  • Jim R

    While we are nitpicking here, the symbol Tc is already taken, for element 43.

    Nice website, by the way. Heard about it from the John Batchelor Show.

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