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Four new element names added to the periodic table

The names aren't yet permanent; they now begin a public comment period.

By Brooks Hays
The periodic table has four new named elements. Photo by Jason Winter/Shutterstock
The periodic table has four new named elements. Photo by Jason Winter/Shutterstock

ZURICH, Switzerland, June 9 (UPI) -- Four new elements can now be known by more than just their atomic numbers. Elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 are now nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson -- or if you prefer shorthand, Nh, Mc, Ts and Og.

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry welcomed the four new elements to the periodic table this week, a few months after scientists IUPAC acknowledged their existence and the scientists responsible for their identification.

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The names aren't yet permanent; they now begin a public comment period -- a formality -- that will last until November 8, 2016. It's unlikely anyone will challenge the four names.

Element 113, or nihonium, Nh, was first discovered by scientists RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-Based Science, located in Japan. Its discoverers named it after an alternative pronunciation of their home nation. "Nihon" literally means "Land of the Rising Sun."

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The scientists claiming moscovium, Mc, and tennessine, Ts, followed the tradition of naming an element for the location of its discovery. Mc was identified by scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, a town just outside of Moscow. Ts was found by researchers at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, both in Tennessee.

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Such an approach wasn't possible for oganesson, which was discovered via joint effort by researchers in Russia and the United States. Instead, its name honors the late physicist Yuri Oganessian, who himself discovered several superheavy elements.

"It is a pleasure to see that specific places and names (country, state, city, and scientist) related to the new elements is recognized in these four names. Although these choices may perhaps be viewed by some as slightly self-indulgent, the names are completely in accordance with IUPAC rules," Jan Reedijk, who fielded the naming proposals from the different research teams, said in a news release. "In fact, I see it as thrilling to recognize that international collaborations were at the core of these discoveries and that these new names also make the discoveries somewhat tangible."

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