As Digital Journal reported in early January, the aforementioned elements were officially discovered thanks to a team of scientists from Russia, Japan and the U.S. After being formally recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), they received placeholder names. They were called ununtrium (element 113, symbol Uut), ununpentium (element 115, symbol Uup), ununseptium (element 117, symbol Uus) and ununoctium (element 118, symbol Uuo).
Several months later, they’ve now received formal names, according to ScienceAlert. They are as follows:
-Element 113: Nihonium (Nh)
-Element 115: Moscovium (Mc)
-Element 117: Tennessine (Ts)
-Element 118: Oganesson (Og)
The origins of the first three names are all named after geographic locations and correspond to the nationalities of the scientists who discovered the elements. Nihonium is named after “Nippon,” which is “Japan” in Japanese. Muscovium is named after Moscow, while Tennessine is named after the state of Tennessee. The U.S. state is well-known for its chemistry research, especially institutions like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University. Finally, Oganesson is named after scientist Yuri Oganesson.
Tennessee is the second U.S. state to be named on the periodic table (Californium, element number 98, being the first namesake) while Oganesson is the second living scientist to be honoured with an element name (Seaborgium, element number 106, was named after Glenn Seaborg). Nihonium is the first element to be named in East Asia.
The IUPAC has specific rules that govern how elements can be named. Names can only be based on geographic locations, scientists, minerals (or similar substances), properties of the element and finally mythological creatures or concepts.
On Twitter, some users couldn’t resist having some fun with the new names:
— Lauren Moores (@lolomoo) June 9, 2016
Periodic Table 2k16 is basically a glorified roster update. 6/10
— Harry Bambi (@harrybambiii) June 9, 2016
None of the new periodic table elements are named after me so my day is pretty much ruined 🙁 June 9, 2016
I would have gone with Element McElement Face 😛 – Four new element names proposed for periodic table June 9, 2016
The official names will now be subject to a five-month public review, set to expire on November 8, 2016. If there are no complaints, the names will become official. In the meantime, the Japanese team behind the discovery of Nihonium is setting its sights on discovering element 119 and beyond.