Completing the 7th period, an additional four elements are making there way to the periodic table and one would imagine a forthcoming episode of “The Big Bang Theory.”

New Elements Periodic Table


IUPAC confirms the additions of four man-made elements

In a boon for the poster printing industry as well as geek t-shirt printers the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry confirmed today that four elements (113,115,117 and 118) presently known by their working titles will complete the 7th period of the periodic table. What’s a geek t-shirt printer? Well, companies like MentalFloss where I bought my “Pluto 1930-2006, Revolve In Peace” shirt.

However, prior to this printing, they need names and those that discovered them will have that honor. What goes into naming an element?

“IUPAC has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements temporarily named as ununtrium, (Uut or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, element 115), ununseptium (Uus, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118),” said said Jan Reedijk, president of the Inorganic Chemistry Division of IUPAC, in a statement.

Well, the guidelines say the new elements “can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist,” according to the IUPAC.

Where were the discoveries made?

Researchers in the United States, Russia and Japan along with a group at the Riken Institute in Japan which has the distinction of claiming “the first element on the periodic table found in Asia.”

The other three elements were discovered in a collaboration between the Livermore National Laboratory in California and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. That collaboration already has already discovered three previously added elements though two of also included the work of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Each of the new elements are classified as “superheavy” a distinction given to elements with over 104 protons. Each of the new elements that fill out the 7th row were discovered through the use of particle accelerators that “shot” nuclei at target nuclei.

You won’t be mining these elements anytime soon?

Obviously, as none of them occur in nature. Adding to their uniqueness is, for example Element 113, which only exists for less than a thousandth a second following the particle accelerator creating it.

“A particular difficulty in establishing these new elements is that they decay into hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements that also need to be unequivocally identified,” said Paul Karol, chair of the IUPAC’s Joint Working Party.