It’s Official: 4 New Elements Added to Periodic Table Have Formal Names
Oh, hello, oganesson. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the century-old organization charged with maintaining the periodic table, finally announced it had approved the names of four new elements. These monikers, attached to new heavy elements, were the result of an almost year-long process.
In December 2015, IUPAC made the first of several broadcasts: Four elements, numbered 113, 115, 117 and 118, met the criteria for inclusion in the periodic table. The seventh, bottom row of the periodic table was complete. In June, IUPAC announced the tentative names. And on Nov. 28, after a five-month waiting period during which IUPAC accepted public comments, the organization released an updated periodic table. The June names had passed muster, and are set to be ratified at the organization’s meeting in July 2017.
To be clear, the general public never had a shot at naming the elements directly, sparing everyone the whimsy of Elementally McElementalface-ium. (And, fitting as a literal heavy metal tribute to Motörhead musician Lemmy Kilmister would be, lemmium‘s change.org petition did not pan out.)
Still, a few people tried to sway IUPAC. “Overall, it was a real pleasure to realize that so many people are interested in the naming of the new elements, including high-school students, making essays about possible names and telling how proud they were to have been able to participate in the discussions,” Jan Reedijk, president of IUPAC’s Inorganic Chemistry Division, said in a statement Wednesday. “For now, we can all cherish our periodic table completed down to the seventh row.”