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.